Local Hero Fukuhara Playing for Tsunami Victims at Women's World Cup
Can Fukuhara win gold to inspire her home town of Sendai
World number five Ai FUKUHARA has stated that she is playing for the tsunami victims from her home town of Sendai at the 2015 ITTF Women's World Cup, which starts tomorrow 30 October 2015 in Sendai, Japan.
The host city, where FUKUHARA grew up in, was devastated by a tsunami in 2011 which affected over 200 people.
"As a sportsperson, I would live to dedicate my performance here at the Women's World Cup to everyone who were affected by the devastating tsunami in my beautiful hometown of Sendai," said FUKUHARA.
"Earlier today, I got to go to a primary school with my Olympic silver medal, which the kids were able to touch and put around their neck. They told me this gave them strength and hope, which made me very happy and proud,"concluded the 27 year old.
In Sendai, world number two, LIU Shiwen is aiming for her fourth ITTF Women's World Cup title, which would equal the all time record.
The 24 year old has already won three Women's World Cup's from three attempts and her fourth will bring her World Cup medal count on par with the legendary ZHANG Yining.
"Of course it is my goal to equal the record. I feel some pressure to do it, but I am still young and I have time on my hands. It would be a great honour to equal this record, and I will be doing my best here in Japan to do so."
The 2015 ITTF Women's World Cup only consists of 20 of the world's best players. 19 of the players competing here had to qualify through their respective Continental Cups, which means only the best of the best can compete.
The only other player to receive the golden ticket to play in the 2015 ITTF Women's World Cup was the 2015 Mixed Doubles World Champion YANG Haeun (KOR), who received the wildcard for the event.
Kicking off the event are seeds nine to 20, playing round robin in four groups of three players (two matches each). The top two players from each group will then progress to the second round of the competition. This first round draw can be found here: http://bit.ly/1kUKOTI.
The second round, which starts on Saturday, is a straight knockout with the eight players who progressed from the first round, facing off against the top eight seeded players. The players play the round-of-16 and quarterfinals on Saturday, with the semifinals and final on Sunday.