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Jochen Wollmert announces retirement, bids farewell in Cancun

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Published in Table Tennis
Sunday, 05 June 2022 01:41

One name stands out from the rest as you scan the entry list for the forthcoming ITTF Copa Cristina Hoffmann 2022, the tournament to be staged in the Mexican resort of Cancun from Monday 6th to Wednesday 8th June.

Germany’s Jochen Wollmert is the player in question.

Now 57 years old, after no less than 32 years of competing at international level, the visit to the Yucatan Peninsula will bring his celebrated career to a close.

A class 7 player throughout, commencing in 1990 in Assen, Netherlands, he has collected six gold medals at World Para Championships.

One year later in the Salou, located in northeastern Spain, he commenced his European Championships journey. In the continental event the tally reads nine gold.

Outstanding achievements but it is the record at the Paralympic Games which surpasses all others. A debut in 1996 in Atlanta, he appeared on six consecutive occasions in the quadrennial gathering, five times being a gold medallist.

The appearance of Jochen Wollmert adds immense interest to proceedings, but he is not the only entrant to have succeeded at the very highest level.

Also, in men’s class 7, Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands, the European champion in 2015 and 2019, competes; as in men’s class 6 does Thailand’s Ringroj Thainiyom, like Jochen Wollmert, also a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Furthermore, from the United States, Tahl Leibovitz, a class 9 athlete, will be on duty.

Notably in 1996 he struck gold in Atlanta, a win that was to spark a run of quite staggering consistency. Commencing in 2003 he claimed six Parapan American Games gold medals in addition to eight of the same colour at the Parapan American Championships.

Male names to ponder, the women are not left out.

Kelly van Zon, like Jean Paul Montanus from the Netherlands and a class 7 player, is the leading lady.

Commencing in 2009, she has been crowned European champion on four occasions, in 2014 and 2018 she was anointed World champion.

Moreover, when she won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, it was three in a row.

Overall, 77 men and 27 women representing 16 member associations compete in Cancun.

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