Passion and pride, Kaii Yoshida at the Liebherr World Team Championships in 2010
Photo By: Rémy Gros
2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup (Click here to access this section)
Teamwork, the abiding principle behind the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup to be held in Doha on Tuesday 22nd November 2011.
The tournament is a doubles competition that requires teamwork. The partners will be from diverse backgrounds; that requires understanding and necessitates teamwork.
Whether it be doubles, player and coach, athlete and physiotherapist or whatever; teamwork is paramount in sport. Equally making peace demands diplomacy; that is also teamwork, politicians working together for the common good.
Working together and when it comes to table tennis, there is one man present in Doha who represents that unifying factor to the full.
Strain Every Sinew
If you want a player who is going to fight for the team cause, strain every sinew, summon up the blood; it is Japanís Kaii Yoshida.
Always the commitment is total; at the recent Liebherr World Team Cup in the German city of Magdeburg, that fact was crystal clear.
In the semi-final duel against Korea, he was overwhelmed by Oh Sang Eun; the ability of the Korean to control the ball and reduce the efficiency of Kaii Yoshidaís attacking play summoned doom.
Clash of Styles
Right handed, a penhold grip player in the very traditional mode, using one side of the racket only and utilising fast footwork to exploit his trade; the style of the likes of Oh Sang Eun or Vladimir Samsonov are a nightmare for Kaii Yoshida.
How he must have wished that his adversary had been Joo Se Hyuk; just as Kaii Yoshida dreads playing Oh Sang Eun, so he relishes the challenge against the Korean defender.
Simply, he has time to play and he can unleash a tirade of forehand top spins.
On his second visit to the table in the semi-final duel against Korea; Kaii Yoshida faced an adversary of the same style, the same ilk.
He confronted Ryu Seung Min. Eventually he was beaten by the 2004 Athens Olympic champion but he gave his all.
Trailing by two games one and behind in the fourth game he recovered to force a deciding fifth game.
The level of play, the exciting forehand topspin exchanges; the entertaining rallies thrilled the German crowd in Magdeburg. Such was their response, such was their appreciation of the effort made, that you would have thought one of them was German!
Two Singles Matches
Against both Brazil in the quarter-finals and Korea in the semi-finals; Kaii Yoshida was named to play in the two singles matches, not the doubles where Japan always chose Kenta Matsudaira and Koki Niwa.
The selection was in line with previous Japanese policy and perhaps highlights why playing in the greatest event of all, the Olympic Games, may never come his way.
Kaii Yoshida was a crucial member of the Japanese team, who finished in third place in the menís event at the Evergrande Real Estate World Team Championships in 2008 and two years later in Moscow at the Liebherr World Team Championships.
However, when it came to the Menís Team event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, it was Kan Yo who played alongside Jun Mizutani and Seiya Kishikawa; not Kaii Yoshida.
In the team format for the World Championships there is no doubles, in the Olympic Games, the doubles match can be crucial.
Kaii Yoshida, by his own admission, may not be the greatest doubles player the world has ever seen but when it comes to a team event, he in his element and he is one hundred per cent for Japan.
Yet he originates from China, formerly Song Haweii; through his splendid attitude, he has been accepted by Japan and he has welcomed the opportunity given; there has been goodwill on both sides.
He is one hundred per cent for Japan, he is the team man, his commitment motivates others, he is the unifying force, he is the purpose of the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup.