Al-Watani Para Championships return, nationwide honour at stake in Amman

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First staged in March 2008, after a three year break the Al-Watani Para Championships return to the international stage, the tournament being held in the Jordanian capital city of Amman from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st May.

Always the name Al-Watani has been used as the prefix, the meaning “patriotism”; no doubt that will be a major motivating factor for Osama Abu Jame, the 32-year-old from Zarqa, some 15 miles north-east of Amman, leads his country’s aspirations.

Moreover, he will be seeking to defend the title won in 2019 when he succeeded in men’s singles class 3.

He is one of three players aiming for a repeat success; the others are Sandra Mikolaschek and Zanab Farttoozi.

Sandra Mikolaschek, in 2019, the women’s singles class 1-4 winner, is a member of a strong German contingent that includes Marlene Reeg (class 10) alongside male colleagues, Björn Schnake (class 7) and Jan Guertler (class 3).

Seemingly, Björn Schnake appears to be improving like a good wine.

Last year the 50-year-old gained partnered Thomas Rau to men’s team class 6-7 bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Additionally, he won men’s singles events in the Czech Republic and Costa Rica.

Likewise, last year, there was the top prize for Marlene Reeg, she struck gold on the Costa Brava; as for Jan Guertler, there was not the same level of success in 2021 but in 2019 he prevailed in Argentina at the prestigious Copa Tango.

Somewhat differently, for Zanab Farttoozi, the 2019 win in Amman is her only international title; the player very much to note in the Iraqi entry is Najlah Imad Lafta Al Dayyeni. Earlier this year she won women’s singles class 6 in Egypt.

Also, enjoying success in Egypt, Frenchman Alan Papirer (class 1) competes in Amman as in the men’s singles does Egypt’s Mohamed Eid Saleh (class 4), time and again the African champion.

Worthy adversaries, as in the women’s singles is Turkey’s Ümran Ertis (class 10) but if there are female names that attract the attention, they are those of India’s Bhavina Patel (class 4) and Sonalben Patel (class 3).

Recently, Sonalben Patel won in March in Egypt; more significantly, Bhavina Patel stole the show at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, contrary to expectations, she emerged a silver medallist.

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