This month on TT News:
Chinese Stars Suffer Rankings Blow, Tomokazu Harimoto sets a new record at Japanese
National Championships, The first ITTF World Tour event of 2018 takes
place and more: This video is brought to you in partnership
with Bribar. Visit Bribar table tennis for all your table
tennis equipment needs including the latest tibhar evolution rubber range. The new table tennis world rankings list has
been unveiled and as expected there were plenty of big surprises for January 2018. One of the biggest talking points of the list
sees Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov rise to World No.1 but there have also been major
headlines about the new rankings positions for Chinese stars Ma Long and Zhang Jike. Ma Long held first position in the list for
34 consecutive months and has been the leading name in men’s table tennis for many a year
now. Victorious at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,
Ma Long went on to enjoy a fantastic first half of 2017 with his capture of the Men’s
Singles title at the 2017 World Championships. However, as of January 2018 Ma Long has slipped
down the order, with the 29-year-old now occupying 7th position alongside Hong Kong’s Wong
Chun Ting who also shares the same number of rankings points. Zhang Jike has also suffered a major drop
down the men’s rankings table with the former Grand Slam winner moving from 9th to 54th
in January. The London 2012 champion is now the sixth
highest world ranked Chinese player in the men’s game and is some 33 places below 2015
World Championship runner up Fang Bo. Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen are the big headline
makers in the women’s world rankings with the two stars falling down to 21st and 24th
positions respectively while Chen Meng is named as the new World No.1. The 2018 Japanese National Championships were
held in Tokyo where fans witnessed another milestone achievement for one of Japan’s
most talented young stars. Tomokazu Harimoto is used to setting records
and now he has set another by becoming the youngest ever player to claim the Men’s
Singles trophy at the Championships. Aged 14 years and 207 days, Harimoto accounted
for Jun Mizutani in the final across six games. Mima Ito proved victorious in the Women’s
Singles category with strong display against Miu Hirano. Ito also prevailed in both the Women’s Doubles
and Mixed Doubles competitions, partnering Hina Hayata and Masataka Morizono in the respective
events. The Men’s Doubles crown was claimed by the
pairing of Jun Mizutani and Yuya Oshima while the Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Girls’
Singles gold medals were won by Tomokazu Harimoto and Miyu Nagasaki. Budapest was the destination for the first
ITTF World Tour event of 2018 as players from across the globe gathered for the 2018 Hungarian
Open. Fan Zhendong was crowned Men’s Singles champion
in the Hungarian capital, defeating young star Wang Chuqin in the final. Wang Chuqin was appearing in his first ever
final on the World Tour following outstanding performances over the likes of Chuang Chih-Yuan
and Chen Chien-An, but ultimately it was Fan Zhendong who took the plaudits. Success in Budapest marks Fan Zhendong’s
first Men’s Singles title on the World Tour since 2016! Over in the Women’s Singles event it was
Wang Manyu who came away with the gold medal. Sun Yingsha provided the opposition in the
final in what turned out to be another tight contest between the two Chinese stars, however,
in the end it was Wang Manyu who came out on top to win her second Women’s Singles
trophy on the World Tour. China enjoyed further success in the two doubles
competitions with the partnership of Fan Zhendong and Yu Ziyang claiming the Men’s Doubles
award while the Women’s Doubles prize went to Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha. The 2018 World Team Cup is nearly upon us
with the event set to commence in late February and China has finally unveiled its full team
information for the upcoming event. Chen Xingtong and Wang Manyu both booked their
places in the Chinese women’s team after securing the top two positions at an internal
trials competition held in Beijing, finishing ahead of World Tour Grand Finals champion
and World No.1 Chen Meng. Joining Chen Xingtong and Wang Manyu in the
Chinese women’s line-up is Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling. Ma Long will lead the Chinese men’s team
at the 2018 World Team Cup with Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Lin Gaoyuan and Yu Ziyang also making
the squad. Finally we turn our attention to London where
the 2018 World Championship of Ping Pong took place. The two-day event which saw some of the world’s
best sandpaper bat players do battle provided plenty of drama for spectators to enjoy and
the crowd at Alexandra Palace witnessed a thrilling final as two Chinese competitors
met face to face for the title. Wang Shibo and Huang Jungang played out a
fantastic contest for the gold medal which went right down to the final game but only
one of the finalists could be crowned World Champion and that turned out to be Wang Shibo
who defeated his fellow countryman by the narrowest of margin to lift the trophy on
his debut at the tournament.

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Dennis Veasley

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