By Nick Butler

Patryk Chojnowski is the defending champion and reigning Paralympic gold medalist and will be one of the biggest names competing at this weeks European Para Table Tennis ChampionshipsSeptember 27 - Europe's top players has descended on the Italian town of Lignano for the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para European Championships - with no less than nine London 2012 champions heading the entry lists.

The week-long event, which is due to start tomorrow and conclude on October 5, will consists of 11 different categories for both men and women featuring 291 competitors from 29 countries with both sitting and standing classes for those with physical disabilities as well one class for those with intellectual impairments.

Perhaps the biggest favourite for any event will be Poland's Patryk Chojnowski as he has more world ranking points than any other athlete in any other classification this season.

As well as being the world number one in the class 10 category, for those with a minimal physical impairment, the Pole won the gold medal at London 2012 and will also defend the European title that he won in Split two years ago.

At the other end of the spectrum will be two other London champions in Germany's Holger Nikelis and Slovakia's Jan Riapos in the class one and two events respectably for those with no sitting balance and a playing arm with varying degrees of restriction.

The other Paralympic champions featuring on the men's side will be Norway's Tommy Urhaug in class five, Hungary's Peter Palos class 11 and the three time gold medal winner, and another German, in veteran Jochen Wollmert in class seven

However these players, and in particular Wollmert, will not have things all their own way as the competitors include the likes of Britain's Will Bayley.

Bayley won a silver medal in London 2012 and enters these Championships in great form after winning both the Italian and Slovenian Opens in 2013, while the world ranked number one Maxim Nikolenko of the Ukraine will also provide stiff competition in the same class.

On the women's side the star name is Sweden's Ana-Carin Ahlquist: the winner of the class three singles at London 2012 as well as the defending European champion and world ranked number one.

Ana-Carin Ahlquist of Sweden pictured here celebrating her Paralympic class 3 gold medal at London 2012 is another big favourite for more success this weekAna-Carin Ahlquist of Sweden pictured here celebrating her Paralympic class three gold medal at London 2012 is another big favourite for more success this week

Also present will be two other Paralympic champions in Russia's Raissa Chebanika class six and Kelly Van Zon of the Netherlands class seven

Two other strong competitors are likely to be Russia's Olga Gorshkaleva in class nine, who is the top ranked European in her division, and France's Thu Kamkasasomphou one category below.

Kamkasomphou had to settle for the silver medal in London last year after taking gold at Beijing 2008 but the veteran is still ranked number one in the world and goes into the event as the heavy favourite for more success.

The action can be watched online on the ITTF YouTube channel here.

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