Lausanne-Switzerland, May 15, 2012: Heading London, Less than three months away from the start of the London Olympic Games, when China will defend the four table tennis titles won in Beijing, those charged with the task, are all on duty at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour KRA Korean Open which starts in Incheon City near Seoul on Wednesday 16th May and concludes on Sunday 20th May.
MA Long, ZHANG Jike and WANG Hao form the men’s team that is set for London, DING Ning, LI Xiaoxia and GUO Yue comprise the women’s outfit that will grace the ExCel Arena in July.
All are in action in Incheon, a city that is also looking forward to hosting a multi-sport spectacular; in 2014 the city will be the home for the Asian Games. Alongside the Pan American Games, the event is seen as second only in stature to the Olympic Games.
Furthermore, in addition to those bound for England’s capital city in July, there is a strong Chinese supporting cast on duty in Incheon. XU Xin and MA Lin are both in action in the Men’s Singles event as are GUO Yan, LIU Shiwen and WU Yang in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition.
In both Men’s and Women’s Singles events, China provides the top five seeds, with Japan being next on the list. Jun MIZUTANI is the no.6 seed in the Men’s Singles event, in the Women’s Singles competition that privilege belongs to Kasumi ISHIKAWA.
Meanwhile for the host nation, JOO Saehyuk leads the challenge, alongside OH Sang En and RYU Seungmin; they occupy the next three seeded places with Singapore’s Gao Ning completing the top ten names.
GAO Ning is very much the man in form; he won the Men’s Singles title at the most recent tournament on the GAC GROUP 2012 World Tour. In late April he succeeded in Chile but if he is to repeat that achievement in Korea, he will be required to deliver the very best performance of his career.
Equally, if the host nation’s KIM Kyung Ah, who won in both Chile and Spain, is to make in three in a row; her defensive skills will have to prove impenetrable. The leading host nation player on duty in the Women’s Singles event, she is the no.14 seed. Singapore’s WANG Yuegu, Hong Kong’s TIE Yana are the respective seventh and eighth seeds with FENG Tianwei, also from Singapore and Japan’s Ai FUKUHARA completing the top ten names in Incheon.
Meanwhile, in the doubles events, Chinese pairs lead the way. WANG Hao and ZHANG Jike are the top seeds in the Men’s Doubles event, followed by colleagues MA Long and XU Xin, the reigning World champions.
The second seeded spot for the pair who succeeded in Rotterdam at the GAC GROUP 2011 ITTF World Championships, for the duo that succeeded in the counterpart Women’s Doubles event, it is the top seeded place. GUO Yue and LI Xiaoxia are the top seeds followed by Japan’s Hiroko FUJII and Misako WAKAMIYA. In all four events China leads the way but in the Under 21 events, visitors are in evidence.
Iran’s Noshad ALAMIYAN is the top seed in the Under 21 Men’s Singles: in the counterpart Under 21 Women’s Singles event Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa is in the number one spot. It will be the fourth appearance for Kasumi ISHIKAWA on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour; previously she participated in Slovenia, Qatar, Spain and Chile; on each occasion she won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title. In Incheon, she aims for an unprecedented five in a row.
The total prize fund on offer at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Korean Open is US$ 85,400 with the Men’s and Women’s Singles winners each pocketing US$ 33,600. —- PHOTO: R MY GROS
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