The world’s best table tennis players will be flying to Suzhou, China, at the end of April 2015 for the 54th edition of the ITTF World Championship.
This year’s World Table Tennis Championship will take place between 26th April and 3rd May and will see five individual events contested. Asides to the singles titles for men and women, the world’s top table tennis players will also be battling it out for the men’s and women’s doubles and the mixed doubles titles.
In this article we take a look at the big stars who are most likely to steal the show during the 2015 World Table Tennis Championship, including fan favourites as well as the new seeds who could surprise us.
Doo Hoi-kem (Hong Kong)
Doo Hoi-kem is a promising Hong Kong table tennis starlet who will be facing her biggest challenge yet during the 2015 World Championships in Suzhou. The 18-year-old will be teamed up with her double partner Lee Ho-ching to take on other, more experienced players in the women’s double.
For Hoi-kem, next week’s tournament will be an important test of her skills and one of the major challenges she’ll have to overcome prior to the Rio Olympic Games. Her coach, Li Ching, believes the youngster is already competing at elite level and that with her strong attacking backhand, Hoi-kem is able to take on the top players.
Ma Long (China)
Chinese table tennis superstar Ma Long has secured top seeds for the forthcoming world championships. He is the favourite to win the men’s singles category by far, even though he has never succeeded in winning the title at the world championship before.
With his fierce determination to claim his first singles title victory in this important event, Ma will give stiff competition to the men who will face him across the table. His agility and superb technique give him a definite edge over opponents, but although his physical prowess isn’t in question, Ma has previously buckled underneath the intense pressure of playing at such a high level and it is mental stamina that will play the most important role in determining his success next week.
Ding Ning (China)
The Chinese table tennis sensation Ding Ning has secured the top seed in the women’s singles and she is aiming to clinch her second singles title after winning it in 2011.
Ding Ning has been honoured with the ITTF Star Award as the best female table tennis player of 2014. Her recent triumphs in Kuwait and Germany have propelled her to the top of the rankings and she is undoubtedly the most favoured to win in the women’s singles event.
Jean-Michel Saive (Belgium)
Jean-Michel Saive is a veteran table tennis player from Belgium who was most recently crowned as the 2015 ITTF Legends Tour champion in Sweden.
One of the most unique players to join the seeding list this year, Saive will be competing in the World Championships for a record 24th time. He first entered the tournament as a 13-year-old table tennis player back in 1983. His vast experience will certainly play in his favour, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to match his younger opponents’ dexterity at the table.
Mima Ito (Japan)
The 14-year-old Japanese table tennis prodigy stunned the world when she became the youngest ever women’s single champion to win the ITTF World Tour. Ito made history when she won the German Open last month.
The teenager will be seed number 13 in Suzhou next week and she has already set her sights on Olympic gold in Rio 2016. The 2015 World Table Tennis Championship will be an important proving ground for her and the world will be watching her every move as she takes on older and more experienced opponents.
This will be the fifth time that the World Table Tennis Championship will be staged in China, a country that has produced some of the sport’s greatest champions. The event will be streamed live to countries across the globe on all channels and a record number of fans are expected to tune in on their TV or computer screens and follow the action as it happens.