Paralympic Table Tennis European Tour

May 30, 2011, 11:50 p.m. (ET)
A group of nine (9) and eleven (11) U.S. Para Table Tennis players competed at two ITTF PTT tournaments in Slovenia and Rotterdam respectively.  In total, 11 players, 2 coaches and 4 staff members participated in this European tour earlier in May 2011.

This was a non-USATT sponsored trip. Players paid all fees and costs associated with their participation.  USATT provided coaching support of 1 coach as the result of a survey showing the highest number of athletes participating in tournaments in 2011.

The tournaments were the 8th Slovenia Open in the city of Lasko. The tournament was a Factor 40 and very well run!  Organizing Committee has a lot of experience, playing venue and hospitality package were very good.  This tournament attracted 324 players from 34 countries.

The second tournament was the FA40 Dutch Open, which was a milestone for ITTF. This was the first ever Para Table Tennis tournament run in conjunction to an ITTF Word Championship.  The Para tournament was compressed in 3 days.  Quad players and low class numbers in the standing divisions – and for that matter all classes -- had a hard time adjusting to the rigorous playing schedule.  Transportation, information and overall running of the tournament in Rotterdam were poor.  This tournament attracted 290 players from 35 countries.

It was a real treat to be able to witness the World Championships of table tennis and be able to see so many of the best players in the world around.  It was fascinating to see how much exposure Para TT got as the result of the World Championships being held at the same venue and same time as this Factor 40 event.

Four (4) of the U.S. Para players stayed in Slovenia for training camp between tournaments. The training camp was generic and not individualized.  No transportation was provided and the venue had issues with the elevator for athletes, especially on wheelchair, to access the training facility.  Players attending the training camp in Slovenia had an opportunity to work with coach Gorazd Vecko, head coach of Paralympic National Team of Great Britain and Slovenia.  Also, players were able to mingle and play with athletes from other countries.  The rest of the U.S. players went to Rotterdam.  No organized training camp was available. However, players were able to train prior to the Dutch Open.

The team performed better in Rotterdam than they did in Slovenia.  No medals were won on either of the tournaments.  In Rotterdam, in Singles Classes both Tahl Leibovitz and Mitchell Seidenfeld reached the top 16 rounds.  In teams, Pamela Fontaine and Jennifer Johnson reached 4th place in Women Teams Class 4.  Tahl Leibovitz and Mitchell Seidenfled reached top 8 in the Men Team Class 9 event.

The levels of participants at both tournaments were very high.  These tournaments included most of the players that attended the most recent 2010 PWC in South Korea.  Perhaps a great opportunity and experience to our players.

It is evident that our athletes need to play more internationally, so they can strength their skills and abilities to par of their peers at the international level. 

"I was very impressed to see how the athletes performed with such intensity in Rotterdam, especially after having been on the road for almost 2 weeks," said Coach Rutenberg.

USATT PTT athletes are competing in several tournaments as part of their journey to be nominated to the 2011 Parapan American National team and also meeting some qualification requirements for 2012 Paralympics in London.


Tara Profitt (Class 2)
Michael Godfrey (Class 1)
Kristine Edwards
Pam Fontaine (Class 3) James Segrest (Class 2) Lillian Edwards
Jennifer Johnson (Class 4) Sebasitan DeFrancesco (Class 1)
Clyde Matt Profitt
Doyle Harbaugh (Class 4) Tammy Harbaugh
Daryl Sterling (Class 7)
Roman Tinyszin – AC SLO
Kent Anderson (Class 1)
Keith Evans – AC ROT
Mitchell Seidenfeld (Class 7) ROT Daniel Rutenberg – HC
Tahl Leibovitz (Class 9) ROT

AC – Assistant Coach
HC – Head Coach
ROT – Rotterdam only
SLO – Slovenia only

Special thanks to Doru and the National Office for their help and assistance with all administrative parts of this event.  In addition, special thanks to Roman, Krisi, Keith Evans, Tammy Harbaugh, Krisi Edwards, Lillian Edwards and Matt Profitt for their invaluable help and support during the tournament!

Here is a summary of how the players did in the tournaments:

SLOVENIA                               ROTTERDAM          TOTAL TOUR
Wins: 0 0 0
Losses: 5 5 10
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 1 3 4
Losses: 4 6 10
Medals: 0 0 0
Finished 4th in team events with Jennifer Johnson in Class 4 in Rotterdam.
Wins: 0 0 0
Losses: 5 6 11
Medals: 0 0 0
Finished 4th in team events with Pam Fontaine in Class 4 in Rotterdam.
Wins: 1 (default) 0 1 (default)
Losses: 5 6 11
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 0 0 0
Losses: 6 6 12
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 0 0 0
Losses: 5 5 10
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 1 1 2
Losses: 5 6 11
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 0 1 1
Losses: 5 7 12
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 1 0 1
Losses: 5 5 10
Medals: 0 0 0
Wins: 4 4
Losses: 3 3
Medals: 0 0
Finished top 16 in Singles Class 7 event and top 8 in team events with Tahl Leibovitz in Class 9 in Rotterdam.
Wins: 4 4
Losses: 5 5
Medals: 0 0
Finished top 16 in Singles Class 9 event and top 8 in team events with Mitchell Seidenfeld in Class 9 in Rotterdam.
NOTES:Double matches are not included in the above statistics.  For complete results got to the ITTF PTT website.