Lausanne, June 12, 2014: Japanese superstar Ai FUKUHARA returns to international table tennis at the GAC Group 2014 World Tour Super Series Korea Open with the qualification for the main draw which started yesterday 11 June 2014, in Incheon, Korea.
FUKUHARA has been sidelined for the past 3 months with a toe injury, which ruled her out of the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in her home city of Tokyo.
“I can’t wait to play in the Korea Open as it will be first World Tour event since the German Open last year” stated the 25 year old who is that loved in Japan that there is a wax sculpture of her at Narita Airport.
“I apologize to everyone for missing the World Championships, as it caused a lot of worry to everyone. I hope to make it up to everyone by a strong showing in Korea.
My goal is to win the event, but to also check the condition of my toe. I am looking forward to again feeling the joy of being on the court after such a long time” added FUKUHARA.
FUKUHARA will be joined by 101 men and 86 women of the world’s best table tennis players, all hoping to clinch the prestigious Super Series Korea Open gold medal and the large prize cheque.
One of Korea’s most well known sport stars, SEO Hyowon, will be looking to do what no one has ever done at the Korea Open, which is to defend the title.
World number eight SEO Hyowon was in untouchable form last year when she won gold, and will be desperate to put her disappointing World Championships campaign behind her and create history at the Samsan World Gymnasium.
World number one XU Xin is also looking to write his name in the history books by defending his 2013 crown. XU Xin was narrowly beaten by his teammate MA Long in the China Open last weekend, so he will not want to go home with another silver medal.
Youth Olympic Games Champions Koki NIWA is due for big performance on the world stage, after his form has slowly improved during 2014. NIWA has never tasted success in the senior ranks on the World Tour, so this is a perfect opportunity to show the world what he can do.
Qualification for the 16 positions available in the main draw starts tomorrow, 10 June, at the Samsan World Gymnasium. The 16 players who secure qualification will join the 16 seeded players to start the round of 32 knock-out on Friday, 12 June.
In addition to the men’s and women’s singles, there are also men’s and women’s doubles, and men’s and women’s under-21 singles titles on offer in Korea.
The Korea Open is the fifth out of six GAC Group World Tour Super Series (previous were: Kuwait, Qatar, Germany and China), as the players fight for Race to Bangkok points to qualify for the season-ending one-million-dollar World Tour Grand Final to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on 11-14 December 2014.
In addition to the Super Series, the world’s best players can gain Race to Bangkok points at the GAC Group 2014 World Tour Major Series (4 events) and Challenge Series (11 events). —- Photo Credit: ITTF