20 Mar 2017

Olympic champion, World champion, World Cup winner, holder of the Men’s Singles title at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, the first player ever to embrace all four titles at the same time; on the Men’s World Rankings published on Friday 19th August, predictably, the name of Ma Long one again appears at the very top

At the recently concluded Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Ma Long was the master of his art; simply on his route to securing gold in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Team events, he gave a series of performances that were simply breath-taking.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

However, he was not alone in affording performances of quite staggering quality; Japan’s Jun Mizutani rose to a new level, as he secured Men’s Singles bronze and Men’s Team silver.

On the newly issued rankings, he changes places with Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and is now listed at no.5; He is immediately behind the Chinese trio of Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike who all retain their previous status.

Positions Change

Also Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting change places, Vladimir Samsonov is now at no.8, one postion behind Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan who remains at in the no.7 position.

Portugal’s Marcos Freitas and Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik appear in joint 10th place, a climb of one place for Marcos Freitas, two places for Jeoung Youngsik.

Pertinently for Jeoung Youngsik, he matches the previous highest listing of his career; earlier this year in July he occupied the same position. China’s Fang Bo, not in action in Rio de Janeiro, completes the top 12 names, he drops two places.

Highest Ever for Africa

Undoubtedly Ma Long stood head and shoulders above the field in Rio de Janeiro but there were others who more than attracted the attention.

Leading the list was Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, with wins over the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang, Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan and Germany’s Timo Boll, sensationally he reached the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event where Ma Long ended adventures.

He moves from no.40 to 25 and thus occupies the highest ever status achieved by a player from the African continent. The previous best, also the highest for Africa, for Quadri Aruna was no.29 in April 2016, a position Egypt’s Omar Assar likewise achieved earlier this year in January.

Reached Fourth Round

A quarter-final place for Quadri Aruna in Rio de Janeiro was an impressive finish; the fourth round conclusion for Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall, Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic and Ukraine’s Kou Lei was equally praiseworthy, as was that of Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Romania’s Adrian Crisan.

Notably for Paul Drinkhall, Kou Lei and Hugo Calderano, it is the highest status of their careers.

Paul Drinkhall moves from no.58 to no.32, Kou Lei from no.42 to no.33, Hugo Calderano from no.54 to no.33.

The prior best for Paul Drinkhall was no.33 in January 2015, for Kou Lei, the status reached in the previous listing; for Hugo Calderano, no.46 earlier this year in July.

Meanwhile, Bojan Tokic climbs from no.53 to n.35, his prior best being no.25 in November 2011 and January 2012; Adrian Crisan advances from no.90 to no.54 but to match his peak he has some distance to travel. He reached no.12 in February 2006.

Formidable Names

Progress for those who departed in round four in Rio de Janeiro; there is also noteworthy progress for two formidable players who departed earlier in proceedings in the Men’s Singles event.

Canada’s Eugene Wang, who departed in round three, moves from no.69 to no.59; Nigeria’s Segun Toriola, competing in his seven Olympic Games, climbs from no.120 to no.102.

The previous best for Eugene Wang is no.57, earlier this year in January; for Segun Toriola, no.56 in December 2008.

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