Table Tennis

Dr Juraj Stefak, most humble, passes away following lengthy sickness

He attended his first classification seminar in 1997 and have become a global classifier in 2001, head classifier in 2009, serving for greater than 20 years; yearly he spent over 4 weeks as a ITTF medical classifier and volunteer to carry out the important duties.

Following within the footsteps of Aart Kruimer, Dr Stefak led the classification workforce from 2011 to 2017, as well as fulfilling the function of workforce physician for the Slovak Nationwide Para Staff. In his hometown, he was a extremely revered orthopedic physician.

A graduate of the School of Drugs in Bratislava; his first contact with disabled sport was within the 1980 following a gathering with a blind colleague, Paralympian Jozef Buros, who at the moment was engaged in paracycling and cross-country snowboarding.

Owing to his medical background, Dr Stefak was invited to competitions for the disabled in Orava, an space in Slovakia the place he lived his complete life. An curiosity rising in sport for the disabled, his first official participation in a global occasion was his presence as a physician on the 1992 Winter Olympic Video games held within the French cities of Tignes and Albertville. Notably the final such occasion for Czechoslovakia previous to dissolution on Friday 1st January 1993, turning into the separate nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The occasion ignited a Para profession. He grew to become a daily participant on the European Championships and World Championships fulfilling the roles of physician, interpreter, and administrator. In 1994, he was nominated as the pinnacle physician for the Slovakian workforce on the Paralympic Video games in Lillehammer. Quickly after he was approached by Mrs. Hanková who helped with disabled volleyball gamers.

Additionally, in 1996, he was additionally elected to the Nationwide Paralympic Govt Committee, the place he served till 2018; thus, he loved greater than 22 years as an official of the Slovak Paralympic Committee.

Notably on the earth of desk tennis, he proved a stalwart of the Slovakia Para Open and a most valued member of the Para govt committee. Alongside, his standing as head of classifiers, he renounced the positions in 2017, owing to ailing well being. In most up-to-date instances he was a member of the Nationwide Paralympic Disciplinary Physique in addition to being physician and senior classifier for the Worldwide Desk Tennis Federation.

Clearly unwell in 2019, true to his character of supporting Para desk tennis, Dr Stefak attended the Egypt Para Open and Asian Para Championships; sadly, later within the yr in September he was unable to attend the European Para Championships being in want of pressing surgical procedure.

Paralympic Video games attendances:

  • 1992 Albertville: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 1994 Lillehammer: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 1996 Atlanta: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 1998 Nagano: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 2000 Sydney: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 2004 Athens: Chef de Mission, Slovakia
  • 2006 Torino: Deputy Chef de Mission, Slovakia
  • 2008 Beijing: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 2010 Vancouver: Head Physician Slovakia
  • 2012 London: ITTF Chief Medical Officer
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro: ITTF/PTT Classification Officer

Wu Sheng, ITTF Para Desk Tennis Classification Officer, alongside Petra Sörling, ITTF Govt Vice President and Jan Riapos, Paralympic Video games gold medallist and President of the Slovak Nationwide Olympic Committee, paid tribute.

“It’s such heart-broken information. My finest buddy Dr Juraj Stefak handed away. For me, he was an enormous in ITTF/PTT. After I took the place of the classification officer, he at all times gave me the best help and encouragement. Each of us labored collectively in two Paralympic Video games, 4 World championships, and plenty of regional championships. Now I really feel so lonely with out his steerage, it is a massive loss for his household, Slovakia, and the ITTF. Final yr, we even promised one another to satisfy in Tokyo for the 2021 Paralympic Video games. This want can’t now be fulfilled. I promise to take care of truthful classification and competitions in Tokyo. I do know you’ll watch us from heaven together with your massive smile.”

“Prior to now ten years, the Para desk tennis classification system was acknowledged as one of many fairest amongst Paralympic sports activities. Juraj’s contribution to it was huge; his honesty, kindness, integrity, ardour, {and professional} work was very a lot appreciated. Juraj was a person of vast pursuits resembling accumulating stamps, climbing, and studying historical past books. I at all times loved speaking to him. He was a very good buddy and thinker.“ Wu Sheng

“Time could move and fade away however recollections of Juraj Stefak and what he did for our Para desk tennis household will at all times keep. Juraj was passionate in his work as a classifier for greater than 20 years; his purpose to making sure truthful play will at all times be remembered in addition to his friendship with all of us in the course of the years.” Petra Sörling,

“On the age of 70 years, Juraj Stefak, a member of the Slovak Paralympic household, left us after an extended and demanding sickness. Quite a lot of work, having participated within the profitable historical past of the Slovak Paralympic Committee, the place Juraj performed a major function additionally leaves with him. For a few years he devoted himself to the medical classification for athletes in a number of sports activities; the duties moved him to Para desk tennis the place he labored on the IPTTC as a Medical Officer, that he took over after Aart Kruimer in 2009 and handed over to Wu Sheng in 2017.” Jan Riapos

A person of nice integrity, the contribution made by Juraj Stefak to Para sport is immeasurably, sadly missed, by no means forgotten, our condolences to his household.

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