Olympic Champion and World Number One Head Asian Cup Start List
China’s Ma Lin, gold medallist in the Men’s Singles event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and compatriot Liu Shiwen, the world’s no.1 ranked woman, head the list of competitors for the Asian Cup to be staged in the Chinese city of Guangzhou from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th March 2010.
The tournament immediately precedes the Volkswagen 2010 Cup – Guangzhou which will be staged in the same venue on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th March, an event which offers a total prize fund of $250,000, with the winners of the Men’s and Women’s Singles events each pocketing US$50,000 and driving away in a Volkswagen Tiguan Saloon car.
Compatriots Provide Stern Opposition
Ma Lin and Liu Shiwen may well start as the favourites for gold in the Asian Cup but both will face strong opposition; especially from their compatriots.
Zhang Jike, the 2008 winner of the Men’s Singles event at the Chinese National Championships and Xu Xin, the Men’s Singles champion at the recent Qatar Open, are both on duty; whilst similarly for Liu Shiwen, there are two in form players from China who will pose a definite threat.
Guo Yan who retained her Women’s Singles crown at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in Macau in January will be in action as will Guo Yue, the Women’s Singles winner at the Qatar Open in February.
Beyond the Frontiers
Meanwhile, from beyond the borders of China, Hong Kong’s Ko Lai Chak, Singapore’s Gao Ning and Yang Zi plus India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta will all be seeking to impose their presence.
Similarly, in the Women’s Singles event, Singapore’s Fen Tianwei and Wang Yue Gu will present formidable opposition as will four other young ladies.
Hong Kong’s experienced Lau Sui Fei, the rapidly improving Huang Yi-Hua of Chinese Taipei, the stylish Korean Seok Ha Jung and Thailand’s ever reliable Nanthan Komwong are on scheduled to compete.
Young Players on Duty
Furthermore, it is an opportunity for young players to prove their worth.
In the Men’s Singles competition Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An, Japan’s Koki Niwa, Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan plus the Korean duo of Seo Hyun Deok and Kim Min Seok will be in action.
All are players who impressed in the Under 21 Men’s Singles events on the ITTF Pro Tour in February at the Qatar Open and Salwa Cup Kuwait Open; whilst in the Women’s Singles event, there is a similar scenario with Japan and Korea providing the element of youth.
Japan’s Misako Wakamiya and Yuri Yamanashi both appear on the start list as does Korea’s Yang Ha Eun.
Completing Line Up
Completing the Men’s Singles list is Kuwait’s Ibrahem Al-Hasan, Chinese Taipei’s Wu Chih-Chi, Japan’s Kasuhiro Chan and Hong Kong’s Tse Ka Chun, whilst for the women the remaining places are filled by India’s Poloumi Ghatak, Hong Kong’s Zhang Rui, Iran’s Neda Shahsavari and Msalaysia’s Beh Lee Wei.
Men: Ma Lin (CHN), Zhang Jike (CHN), Xu Xin (CHN), Ibrahem Al-Hasan (Kuwait), Chen Chien-An (TPE), Wu Chih-Chi (TPE), Koki Niwa (JPN), Kasuhoro Chan (JPN), Kim Min Seok (KOR), Seo Hyun Deok (KOR), Noshad Alamiyan (IRI), Ko Lai Chak (HKG), Tse Ka Chun (HKG), Gao Ning (SIN), Yang Zi (SIN), Sharath Kamal Achanta (IND)
Women: Liu Shiwen (CHN), Guo Yue (CHN), Guo Yan (CHN), Nanthana Komwong (THA), Misako Wakamiya (JPN), Yuri Yamanashi (JPN), Seok Ha Jung (KOR), Yang Ha Eun (KOR), Feng Tianwei (SIN), Wang Yue Gu (SIN), Poloumi Ghatak (IND), Lau Sui Fei (HKG), Zhang Rui (HKG), Huang Yi-Hua (TPE), Neda Shahsavari (IRI), Beh Lee Wei (MAS)
By Ian Marshall