BEIJING, September 29 (Xinhua) – The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) announced on Tuesday the list of players for the ITTF World Cup for women, the world championships for men and the ITTF 2020.
Dubbed #RESTART, the series will witness a return of international table tennis events after several months of interrupted activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Cup will feature 21 female and 21 male athletes, including the world champion, qualified players from all completed continental competitions (Africa, Europe and Pan America), players selected according to the world rankings from the other continents (Asia and Oceania) and others according to the preliminary qualification system for the World Cup. A maximum of two players per club are allowed for each World Cup competition.
Unlike a typical quota of 20 paddlers for each World Cup, the events this year will see another berth. The ITTF Executive Committee has decided to allow more flexibility for the entry procedure due to timelines in which players may participate, and certain changes to the terms of the competition series, as well as last minute changes for certain league matches.
After reigning world champion Liu Shiwen withdrew due to an injury, her compatriots and current world No. 1 Chen Meng enter the action and expect a tough challenge from the nearest rival Mima Ito from Japan.
As the Asia and Oceania Cup could not be held due to COVID-19, prominent names such as Zhu Yuling (China), Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei) and Feng Tianwei (Singapore) have been chosen according to their world rankings.
The World Cup list for men has three world championship winners Ma Long and top-ranked Fan Zhendong, both from China, Tomokazu Harimoto from Japan, Lin Yun-Ju from Chinese Taipei and Hugo Calderano from Brazil.
The 16 best female players and the 16 best female players will fight for glory in the ITTF final, with a ceiling of four players for each association.
The Chinese quartet Chen, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi will appear in the women’s singles competition, while Japan has the same number of athletes on the list, namely Ito, Ishikawa, Miu Hirano and Hitomi Sato.
Chinese paddlers Fan, Xu Xin, Ma and Lin Gaoyuan are on the singles list for men. Their main rivals will be Harimoto, Calderano, Mattias Falck from Sweden and Dimitrij Ovtcharov from Germany.
The ITTF added that the player list could still be changed due to the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.