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Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A Repeat of a Memorable Final a Possibility One Year Later in Kuala Lumpur
On Sunday 12th October 2009, one of the very best finals in the thirteen year history of the Women’s World Cup was enacted, it was a stunning contest that kept spectators and television viewers alike spellbound.

In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Liu Shiwen beat her national team compatriot Guo Yue to clinch the top prize; for Liu Shiwen it was a major breakthrough, it was her first Women’s Singles success in a World title event.

A prestigious title was claimed as she became the seventh player to capture the crown and maintained the tournament’s tradition.
Liu Shiwen will defend her Volkswagen Women's World Cup title in Kuala Lumpur
Always China
Ever since the event was first held in Hong Kong in 1996, when Deng Yaping beat Yang Ying at the final hurdle; a player from China has always emerged as the champion.

In fact, only twice has the final not been an all Chinese affair, the two occasions being in 2001 in Wuhu when Zhang Yining beat North Korea’s Kim Hyon Hui and more recently in 2008, when in Kuala Lumpur, Li Xiaoxia defeated Hong Kong’s Tie Yana.

Impinged in the Memory
Finals involving players from the same country have been known to be contests that have not left an indelible mark in the imagination.

However, in 2009 that was most certainly not the case at the Volkswagen Women’s World Cup.

The overwhelming message was that everybody forgot that Liu Shiwen and Guo Yue both came from China; they fought tooth and nail for every point as though national pride was at stake.

Repeat
It was a final to remember and in 2010 it could well happen again; both will be on duty in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the home for the Volkswagen Women’s World Cup from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September 2010.

Liu Shiwen qualifies as the title holder with Guo Yue being the Asian representative.

New Innovation Succeeded
A tremendous tournament was witnessed in 2009 and a new innovation proved a success; the Intercontinental Cup, whereby the representatives of Africa, Latin America, North America and Oceania fought for a place in the main draw and the right to be named Intercontinental Women’s champion.

In 2009, that honour went to Australia’s Miao Miao but in 2010 there will be a new name on the trophy; the Oceania representative is New Zealand’s Karen Li who will face Mexico’s Yadira Silva, Congo Brazzaville’s Yang Fen and Canada’s Zhang Mo for the title.

Paralympian
A first in 2009 and there will be a first in 2010.

Poland’s Natalia Partyka will become the first Paralympian to compete in the Women’s World Cup; gold medallist at the Paralympic Games in both Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years later, Natalia Partyka has been awarded one of two “wild cards” allotted to the International Table Tennis Federation.

The other has been awarded to Hungary’s Krisztina Toth.

Remaining Places
Natalia Partyka and Krisztina Toth join Germany’s Wu Jiaduo, the reigning European champion, as the old continent’s representatives in a tournament where the might of Asia claims the places allocated by world ranking.

Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and Wang Yue Gu, Korea’s Kim Kyung Ah and Park Mi Young, Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana, Japan’s Ai Fukuhara and Sayaka Hirano plus the rapidly improving Huang Yi-Hua of Chinese Taipei complete the line up.

Prize Fund
The total prize fund is US$150,000 with the winner leaving US$45,000 the richer.