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Olympic Games List Sees New Career High for Japanese Star

by on Jul.06, 2012, under News

Winner of the Men’s Singles title at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Japan Open in Kobe, in June, Japan’s 23 year old, Jun MIZUTANI climbs to two places to no.5 on the Men’s World Rankings, issued by the International Table Tennis Federation on Wednesday 4th July 2012.

A career high for Jun MIZUTANI.

Winner of the Men’s Singles title at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Japan Open in Kobe, in June, Japan’s 23 year old, Jun MIZUTANI climbs to two places to no.5 on the Men’s World Rankings, issued by the International Table Tennis Federation on Wednesday 4th July 2012.

It is the highest global listing of his career.

Similarly on the Women’s World Rankings, success on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour is rewarded.

Korea’s KIM Kyungah who was the runner up in Japan but the winner one week later in Brazil, moves from no.11 to no.5.

Progress for Japan and Korea but once again China is the dominant force; they occupy the top four places on both the Men’s and Women’s lists, with the two reigning World champions continuing in top spot.

ZHANG Jike leads the Men’s World Rankings followed by MA Long, XU Xin and MA Lin; DING Ning continues to head the Women’s World Rankings pursued by LIU Shiwen, LI Xiaoxia and GUO Yan.

Meanwhile, for MA Lin, also from China, it is a drop of one place to no.6 as it is for Germany’s Timo BOLL, he falls to no.7.

Chinese Taipei’s CHUANG Chih-Yuan, China’s WANG Liqin and Korea’s JOO Saehyuk complete the Men’s top ten.

Meanwhile, for the Women, Japan’s Kasumi ISHIKAWA is now at no.6, having previously been at no.5; with colleague Ai FUKUHARA moving in the opposite direction. She is now at no.7, formerly at no.8.

Singapore’s FENG Tianwei and China’s GUO Yue share the no.8 spot with Hong Kong’s TIE Yana at no.10. It is a climb of two places for FENG Tianwei but a fall of two spots for GUO Yue and one for TIE Yana.

The ranking lists will be used to determine the seeding in the singles events at the forthcoming Olympic Games.

Only two players from any one National Olympic Committee are permitted in the singles events and nominations having already been made; ZHANG Jike will be the Men’s Singles top seed followed by WANG Hao, Jun MIZUTANI and Timo BOLL.

In the Women’s Singles competition DING Ning will be the no.1 seed; next in line will be LI Xiaoxia, KIM Kyungah and Kasumi ISHIKAWA.

Top 10 Men World Ranking
(Click on each player for more info)

Top 10 Women World Ranking
(Click on each player for more info)

1. ZHANG Jike 1. DING Ning
2. MA Long 2. LIU Shiwen
3. Xu Xin 3. LI Xiaoxia
4. WANG Hao 4. GUO Yan
5. MIZUTANI Jun 5. KIM Kyungah
6. MA Lin 6. ISHIKAWA Kasumi
8. CHUANG Chih-Yuan 8. GUO Yue
9. WANG Liqin 9. FENG Tianwei
10. JOO Saehyuk 10. TIE Yana

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Month of Misery Continues for Jean-Michel Saive

by on Jun.25, 2012, under News

Ranked no.1 in the World, European champion, winner of the Europe Top 12 and a host of other titles to his credit; at the moment nothing is going right for Jean-Michel Saive

At the recent GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Brazil Open in Santos, he was beaten in the opening round by the host nation’s rising teenage star, Hugo Calderano; just over one week later, at the ITTF Euro-Africa 4th Hasan II Morocco Open in the city of Rabat on Sunday 24th June, it was farewell in the quarter-finals.

The top seed, he was beaten in five games by Kuwait’s Ibrahem Al-Hasan, the no.7 seed (14-12, 11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9). Best Win
Once again sadness for Jean-Michel Saive and he will want to forget the month of June 2012 but, as he has done throughout his long distinguished career, the Belgian legend in both Santos and Rabat conducted himself with the utmost dignity, a mark of his character.

Ask both Hugo Calderano and Ibrahem Al-Hasan to name the best win of their careers and I suspect both will reply “Jean-Michel Saive”; at the moment that may be little solace to the main who lifted Belgium to new heights in the world of table tennis but it reflects the high respect in which he is held.

Egyptians Fall
The defeat of Jean-Michel Saive was the biggest upset as matters progressed to the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event in Rabat but it was not the only upset; the Egyptian duo of Ahmed Saleh and Omar Assar, the respective third and fourth seeds both departed in round two.

Both lost to in-form Frenchmen who had successfully negotiated the qualification stage of proceedings.

Ahmed Saleh was beaten by Antoine Hachard (12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-3); whilst Omar Assar suffered against Enzo Angles (11-7, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2).

Yannick Vostes Flies Belgian Flag
Alas for Antoine Hachard there was no further progress, he was beaten by Yannich Vostes, the no.5 seed, who kept the Belgian flag flying by overcoming the Frenchman in five games (11-7, 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8), having in the second round beaten the danger man of the tournament.

He ended the hopes of France’s Arnaud Dairon, the player who on the first two days had caused shock after shock, in five games (9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11_7, 11-9).

Semi-Final Place for Enzo Angles
However, for Enzo Angles, it was better news, he booked his place in the semi-finals by overcoming colleague, Michel Martinez, the no.6 seed, in six games (11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Thus for three of the top four seeds, there was no place in the semi-finals; the only one of the elite quartet to book a penultimate round place was Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan.

Progress to Penultimate Round
He beat younger brother Nima Alamian in five games in round two (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5), before overcoming French qualifier, Benjamin Brossier, in the round the last eight in four straight games (11-7, 13-11, 12-10, 11-5).

One round earlier, Benjamin Brossier had ended Moroccan hopes, he beat Mounaim Tirselt, the no.8 seed in four straight games (11-4, 12-10, 11-9, 13-11).

At the semi-final stage, Ibrahem Al-Hasan meets Enzo Angles; Noshad Alamiyan confronts Yannick Vostes.

Play concludes on Monday 25th June 2012.

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Para Table Tennis Player Carries Olympic Torch in North of England

by on Jun.17, 2012, under News

Andrew Harper is the latest table tennis player to carry the Olympic Torch, as the coveted Games emblem moves through the north west of England.

He is from Newton-le-Willows, a small market town which is situated about 15 miles from both Manchester and Liverpool.

On Friday 1st June 2012 he carried the Torch through Horwich, a town located in Bolton in Greater Manchester.

A member of Warrington Table Tennis Club, Andrew Harper sets an example to all with his dedicated attitude which makes light of his disability.

Cerebral Palsy
He was born with left hemi cerebral palsy.

“With determination he is now a member of the development squad of the Great Britain Table Tennis Association for the Disabled Team”, explained Karen Tonge M.B.E. and the North West Regional Chair for the English Table Tennis Association.

Overcome Disabilities
“He has learned to overcome his disability; in addition to table tennis he plays the guitar and snooker”, continued Karen Tonge. “He was bullied at school but with his positive attitude he achieved the required the GCSE and Advanced Level results needed to enable him to go to Manchester University to study Mathematics.”

GCSE is the General Certificate of Education which students in England sit usually at the age of 16 years; Advanced Level examinations are usually taken at the 18 years of age and serve primarily as an entrance to university.

Deserved Reward
“Andrew always gives one hundred per cent and to be part of this fantastic event is a well-deserved reward”, added Karen Tonge. “Now aged 20, Andrew has represented the North West Region at United Kingdom School Games where he won Gold in 2007 and became Champion Ambassador in 2009.”

Current Ranking
There is more.

“He is ranked no.7 in Great Britain in Men’s Class 7”, concluded Karen Tonge. “The result is that he has received Talented Athlete Funding.”

Class 7 is a Standing Class, Class 1 to Class 5 is for wheelchair athletes; Class 6 to Class 10 is for standing athletes and Class 11 for those with an intellectual disability.

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Never Too Old to Learn!

by on Jun.14, 2012, under News

Winner of the Men’s Singles title in Chiba in 1991 and a member of the gold medal winning Swedish Men’s Team on four occasions at World Championships, Sweden’s Jörgen Persson was the special guest for “Meet the Champions” evening at the ITTF Hopes Training Camp in Falkenberg on Wednesday 13th June 2012.

Now 46 years old, the living legend made his debut at a World Championships in Gothenburg in 1985; now over quarter of a century later, he is still competing at the highest levels and has been a regular face on the GAC GROUP World Tour this year.

The experience he possesses is immense. Howver, as he prepares to compete in his seventh consecutive Olympics; he is still learning.

Importance of Learning Techniques
He played an exhibition match against Peter Karlsson and also interacted with the young hopes players. He talked about the importance of learning techniques to develop his game; still at his age.

It is important, he said to not stop learning things.

The game changes in a twinkle and you have to be aware of the changes and adjust.

Working on Distance
Right now in his Olympic preparation, he is working on the distance from the table as an important point and how to handle the new aggressive backhand, combined with top spin flip over the table so popular these days.

Great Ride
He was back in Sweden after a four week journey to Asia and said that his body is not young anymore; I wish I was his age!

He first started going to China when he was 15 years old and has no regrets at all.

“It has been worth every minute of it”, said Jörgen Persson. “I don’t know where I would have been without this sport; it has been a great ride.”

The Hopes youngsters take turns to play the maestro but who is enjoying
the experience the most; the smile on Jörgen Persson’s face gives the answer


Peter Karlsson Gave Advice
In addition to Jörgen Persson, Peter Karlsson also spent time talking to the young players, who were drenched with perspiration after a two hour training session.

He took extra care to talk to each of the young hopes.

Injury Prevention Next on Menu
It was a great evening overall; tomorrow on Thursday 14th June, the educational sessions continue with Miran Kondric from Slovenia.

He will lecture on injury prevention for young players; then on Friday morning Croatia’s Sandra Paovic will be the guest of honour.

Jorgen Persson (left) and Peter Karlsson (right) played an exhibition match
officiated by Mikael Andersson (centre) with Erik Lindh an interested onlooker

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