by Simon Daish
Where it all Began
Representing the USA, Yijun Feng sealed qualification for the Men’s World Cup following his capture of the Men’s Singles title at the 2016 ITTF-North America Cup; aged just 19 years old Feng could add an exciting flavour to the event in Saarbrücken.
Feng was born in Nanjing (China) in 1997 and moved to Texas in the USA eight years later. Then a move to the U.S. state of Georgia followed and before long Feng was attending the Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy.
An interesting fact to point out is that Feng actually started out using the more conventional shakehand grip, but converted to penhold grip when the coach at the Nanjing based team he was playing for insisted he switched grips-Feng has stuck with penhold ever since.
Bursting Onto the Scene
One of the first occasions that Yijun Feng really began to catch the attention of the Table Tennis world was at the Joola 2015 North American Team Championships, where he stunned Nigerian player Quadri Aruna with a fourth end victory.
2015 also saw Feng add the US National Championships Men’s Singles, Under 21 Men’s Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles trophies to his name.
Feng to Surprise Opposition?
Yijun Feng achieved qualification for the Men’s World Cup at the North American Cup tournament held earlier in 2016, after his win over rising USA star Kanak Jha (16) in the Men’s Singles final. Since then Feng has made an appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games representing his country in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Team categories.
Being the second lowest ranked player competing at the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup, Yijun Feng is expected to be drawn into one of four qualifying groups featuring competitors seeded ninth to 20th. Therefore progressing beyond the qualifying groups would be considered as a solid achievement for the USA contestant.
Winning the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup may prove a step too far for Yijun Feng on his debut, but the 19-year-old improves with every tournament he participates in. With the valuable experience he is set to gain from his appearance in Saarbrücken, the name Yijun Feng may be worth noting down for future events.