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Paralympic hopefuls to compete at the British Open
The world's finest para-table tennis players will gather in Sheffield for one of the most important events on the sporting calendar in the run-up to London 2012.
More than 300 elite disabled table tennis players from 39 countries will come to the city to take part in the British Open Para Table Tennis Championships 2011 (BOPTT).
The British Opens is a factor 40 event, meaning only the European Championships - and other continental events - in 2011 - will carry a higher rating. For participating athletes it will be the perfect opportunity to secure ranking points for the 2012 Paralympics.
A squad of players from the Sheffield-based GB team, including Kim Daybell and Sue Gilroy MBE, will compete and will be aiming high after a string of medal successes over the past month at competitions in Slovakia, Romania and Germany.
The BOPTT event will be held at one of South Yorkshire's most prestigious sporting venues, the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, from 14-17 September.
The event is supported by UK Sport, the British Table Tennis Association for people with Disabilities (BTTAD), ITTF Para Table Tennis, the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) and Sheffield City Council.
Peter Taylor, chairman of BTTAD, said: "We haven't had a big disabled table tennis event in Great Britain since the early 1990s so this is a great opportunity to showcase how much standards have improved and just how talented our players are.
"The event will raise the profile of disabled table tennis and drum up interest in the lead up to London 2012, while giving the GB Team a chance to play against other first-class players from around the world.
"We are very grateful to our partners for this great opportunity to promote disability table tennis in Great Britain. UK Sport funds our World Class Performance Program, and without that input and funding this event would not be happening."
Esther Nicholls, Major Event Consultant for UK Sport, said: "UK Sport is dedicated to unlocking the nation's Paralympic performance potential.
"Our focus at the moment is on bringing world class sporting events to the UK ahead of 2012, and the British Open is one of those.
"It will provide an invaluable opportunity for British players to experience international competition on home soil just before the 2012 Paralympic Games."
To find out more visit www.britishopenparatabletennis.com