Team MAZE inaugural champions, individual titles for BOLL and SZOCSPhoto: T2 Asia Pacific League
T2 Asia Pacific League (T2APAC)
The winners of the inaugural T2 Asia Pacific League at the Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios in Johor Baru are TEAM MAZE represented by Timo BOLL, CHEN Chien-An and Alexander SHIBAEV alongside Feng Tianwei, Hina HAYATA and YANG Haeun won the team title; Timo BOLL emerged the Men’s individual champion, Bernadette SZOCS secured the top prize in counterpart crown in the Women’s event.
In the final they overcame Team PERSSON with Jun MIZUTANI, JOO Saehyuk and Mattias KARLSSON with Suthasini SAWETTABUT, SHI Xunyao and Bernadette SZOCS being the female members.
ETTU President Ronald KRAMER witnessed the final day of the T2 Championships in Johor.
"Spending a family visit in Singapore, I was glad to be able to attend the finals in Johor, next door to Singapore. It was a real great experience, with an enthusiastic crowd, who were cheering our European finalists. I have enjoyed every minute of these finals. In particular after having congratulated Bernadette SZOCS , witnessing Timo BOLL winning his final over Dimitrij OVTCHAROV. After having been at the first round in June, I could certainly see some major improvements. It is quite an achievement for Frank Ji and his people led by Jeff CHUE to set up such an innovative tournament, with new ways of presentation of our sport in a TV studio."
President Ronald KRAMER continues: "I think we in Europe but also worldwide can learn a lot of the experiences gained with this T2 tournament. I am looking forward to its continuation next year."
On Friday, in the Team final Timo BOLL secured the kill zone game against Jun MIZUTANI, before sharing the spoils (2-2) in the 24 minute match. YANG Haeun lost the kill zone game in opposition to Suthasini SAWETTABUT but then won the longer version (4-1). Matters concluded with CHEN Chien-An overcoming Joo SAEHYUK (3-2) having lost the shorter version.
On the concluding day FENG Tianwei experienced defeats in both matches against SHI Xunyao, losing the 24 minute (4-1) . Alexander SHIBAEV gave the advantage for Team MAZE; success in both forms was posted against Mattias KARLSSON in both formats, a feat repeated by Hina HAYATA against Bernadette SZOCS. In the timed matches Alexander SHIBAEV (4-1) and Hina HAYATA (5-2) were in commanding form.
Overall matters ended with a 20-13 success for Team Maze in opposition to Team Persson.
Bernadette SZOCS had won the Women’s individual title overcoming LIU Fei (3-2) in the semi-final and FENG Tianwei (5-3) in the final; in the counterpart semi-final FENG Tianwei had beaten SHI Xunyao (3-1).
Timo BOLL beat CHUANG Chih-Yuan at the semi-final stage (3-2), secured the top prize at the expense of German colleague, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (3-1); in the counterpart semi-final, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV had accounted for Jun MIZUTANI (3-1).
The competition started 28th June; play in the Team event comprised six matches, a “kill zone” contest where the first player to secure five points emerged successful followed by an engagement where matches were played over a 24 minute period with each game being to 11 points; the game stopped at 11 points, a player did not have to be two points clear. It was the formula followed throughout the whole competition.
T2APAC has attracted table tennis’ top names, including the world’s top female paddler DING Ning from China, as well as Singapore’s FENG Tian Wei, CHENG I-Ching from Chinese Taipei and South Korean YANG Haeun. The event also featured major top-10 men’s players including Dima OVTCHAROV from Germany. Jun MIZUTANI, former World No. 1 Timo BOLL from Germany , CHUANG Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei, and legendary defensive player JOO Saehyuk of South Korea who was ranked 5th in the world at his peak . The league will also feature some of the best young talents from Japan such as 13-year-old child prodigy Tomokazu HARIMOTO ,17-year old Hina Hayata who recently clinched the bronze in the women’s doubles at the LIEBHERR 2017 World Championships, and rising-star 13-year old Miyuu KIHARA.
The contingent from China comprises members of the China men’s national Shang Kun, Liu Dingshuo, Xue Fei, and Wang Chuqin; and from the China women’s national team –Wu Yang, World No. 41 Wang Manyu, Liu Fei, and Sun Yingsha, as well as 15-year old Shi Xunyao, the Girl’s champion of the 2016 World Junior Championships.
Other top names competing in T2APAC’s inaugural season for a prize purse of over USD 1.75 million include CHEN Chien-an (Chinese Taipei), Vladimir SAMSONOV (Belarus), Paul Drinkhall (England), Georgina POTA (Hungary), Elizabeta SAMARA and Bernadette SZOCS (Romania), Jeon Jihee (South Korea), Aleksandr SHIBAEV (Russia), Matilda EKHOLM and Mattias KARLSSON (Sweden), as well as Suthasini SAWETTABUT (Thailand).