The IBSA sanctioned 2014 European Showdown Championship is scheduled to start today in Sweden, with sight classification, equipment inspection, a referee meeting, a dinner and the opening ceremonies. Competition is officially scheduled to get underway tomorrow gentlemen’s first round in the morning, and the first round, quarterfinals and semifinals taking place in the afternoon and evening. Friday starts the women’s event. Competition officially concludes on Saturday.
There are 33 men, and 24 women competing from twelve different countries, including Finland, Sweden, Slovenia, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Poland, France, and Latvia. Poland’s Elzbieta Mielczarek is the clear favorite in the women’s competition as the top ranked woman. She performed really well at the Pajulahti Games earlier this year. She also won last year’s Dutch Open. The Netherland’s Leander Sachs is the top ranked men’s competitor. He finished second at the Haninge Open 2014 and first at the VII Torneo Internazionale di Showdown held earlier this year.
Showdown is a sport for the blind and visually impaired. It is similar to table tennis and air hockey. The sport has a long history of being played recreationally at major disability sporting events including the Paralympic Games and World Youth Games. Over 30 nations have players competing in the sport.