108 Countries Set to Compete at 2017 World Table Tennis ChampionshipsPhoto: Courtesy of ITTF
The entry list for the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships has been announced with an impressive 613 athletes making the trip to Dusseldorf, Germany for the biggest table tennis event of the year.
For the first time in history, players from Afghanistan, Oman, Palestine and Tahiti will be amongst the 108 countries fighting to be crowned World Champion in the event that will be held from 29 May to 5 June 2017 at the Messe Dusseldorf.
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT stated: "I am very excited about welcoming 613 players from 108 countries to my home country of Germany for the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships. We are all a part of the ITTF family and this Championships will be a celebration of that and a celebration of table tennis. It is going to be a fantastic event, and I look forward to watching as many countries and players as possible playing here in Germany."
The most captivating entries were from the Japanese women's team whose average age is just 19, and they are without team icon Ai FUKUHARA, who has been a consistent member of the Japanese team since 2003. Japan will now be spearheaded by their oldest member of the team, 24-year-old Kasumi ISHIKAWA, and 17-year-old sensation Miu HIRANO who shocked the world to become Asian Champion last month, and is now one of the favorites for the world title.
China has again chosen a team of superstars to defend their titles they won 2 years ago in Suzhou, China. The Chinese men's team boasts the world's top four male players, and the women's, the top two players in the world, so they will be hot favorites to continue their World Championships gold rush.
The local German hopes will rest with world number five Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and former world number one Timo BOLL, who is fresh off his triumph at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Korea Open last week. The near sold out crowd will have high hopes that this experienced duo can break the Chinese dominance and bring gold home from Germany.
There are five titles up for grabs in Germany: Men's Singles, Women's Singles, Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Qualification for the singles main draw of 128 will start on 29 May 2017, with the main draw starting 31 May. The Women's champion will be crowned on 4 May and the Men's on 5 May.
The full list of entiries and all event information can be found here: http://www.ittf.com/tournament/2705/