Players from 130 countries to Paris
The wait is almost over, the LIEBHERR World Table Tennis Championships is about to begin in Paris, France. The 52nd edition of the world’s premier table tennis event will be held in the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, from 13-20 May 2013. A record
The wait is almost over, the LIEBHERR World Table Tennis Championships is about to begin in Paris, France. The 52nd edition of the world’s premier table tennis event will be held in the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, from 13-20 May 2013.
A record 463 men and 360 women from 130 countries have made the trip to the French capital to contest the five gold medals on offer – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
ITTF President Adham SHARARA stated: “We are back in Paris ten years after the great success of the World Championships in 2003. We are in the same venue again, a nostalgic feeling for sure, but a big change. This year we will see an all-time record in the number of participants. It would seem that our member associations have a great appetite for World Championships. May the best Man and Women win. Paris, here we come!”
The Chinese has named a full-strength team, and are looking to defend the whitewash of titles they won at the 2011 World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Individual events and team events alternate on an annual basis; in Paris both ZHANG Jike and DING Ning will defend their respective Men’s and Women’s Singles titles won two years ago in Rotterdam. Chinese teammates XU Xin and MA Long, world ranked no.1 and no.2 respectively, are principal contenders with ZHANG Jike struggling for form.
“I am not really concerned of being the top seed”, said XU Xin gaining the position in the draw for the first time in his career. “The world ranking is just about placements, it is not enough to give you good results; so I still adopt a lower profile and have a positive attitude to fight.”
Germany’s Timo BOLL and Dimitrij OVTCHAROV alongside Japan’s Jun MIZUTANI head the challenge to Chinese supremacy.
Undoubtedly all eyes will focus on DING Ning, the World no.1 as she seeks to gain revenge for the disappointment of losing to Chinese national team colleague, LI Xiaoxia in last year’s Olympic final. LI Xiaoxia is the no.3 seed in Paris behind LIU Shiwen, also from China. Major challengers from outside China in the Women’s Singles event are Singapore’s FENG Tianwei and Spain’s SHEN Yanfei; both have enjoyed consistently good results in the past year.
Playing in a World Championships is for many, a dream come true and playing in just one fulfils that dream; for Belgium’s Jean-Michel SAIVE, the dream goes on and on. In Paris he will be playing in a record 22nd consecutive World Championships, a voyage that started in 1988 and shows no signs of stopping. From the 43-year-old Belgium legend to the 11 year old wonder kid Kamila MASHANLOEVA from Kyrgyzstan, the 52nd World Championships promises to have it all.