by Simon Daish
European Success Leads to Qualification
Shen Yanfei booked her place at the 2016 World Cup, following a successful campaign at the 2016 ITTF-Europe Top 16 event.
Taking the Women’s Singles title in Gondomar (Portugal) with a victory over Hu Melek (TUR) in the final, Shen guaranteed her place for the Women’s World Cup in Philadelphia having missed the previous two renditions of the competition.
Aged 36 Shen will be one of the more experienced contestants at the 2016 World Cup, with appearances at some of the world’s highest profile Table Tennis tournaments to her name.
Career in Short
Born in Hebei, China in 1979 Shen Yanfei moved to Spain before becoming a Spanish citizen which enabled her to represent the country at competitions.
Shen made her debut on the ITTF World Tour in the Women’s Singles category in 2004 and one year later she partnered up with Gao Jun (USA) to claim the Women’s Doubles title at the 2005 Chinese Taipei Open. The combination of Shen and Gao also went on to win gold at the 2005 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
However, it wasn’t until 2010 when Shen Yanfei picked up her first Women’s Singles trophy at a World Tour event with her fantastic showing at the KRA 2010 Korea Open, where she negotiated qualifying rounds to claim the gold medal despite being unseeded for the competition. Two years later and titles at the 2012 Japan and German Opens were added to Shen’s record.
Shen has made three Olympic Games appearances, and has travelled to five World Championships (three Singles, two Team) in her career to date.
Roller Coaster Year
2016 has been rather a mixed year of results for Shen, having seen both highs and lows.
The 2016 German Open in January saw Shen fail to reach the Women’s Singles main draw, losing out to Daniela Monteiro Dodean (ROU) in the last 32 of the preliminary stages. But one month later Shen Yanfei shocked spectators at the ITTF-Europe Top 16 event by taking the title, subsequently sealing a space at the World Cup.
With the ITTF-Europe Top 16 trophy in Shen’s hands, the Spanish player was hoping for similar form at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However, there was very little to cheer about for Shen at Rio 2016 as she exited to Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian in her opening encounter at the 2016 Games.
Hit or Miss for Shen?
The big question now is how are Shen Yanfei’s confidence levels heading into the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup? Will her achievement at the 2016 ITTF-Europe Top 16 event leave Shen Yanfei in a positive mindset for the Philadelphia tournament, or will early exits from the 2016 German Open and Rio 2016 still be in the back of her mind?
Regardless of how confident she is of her chances at the competition, Shen Yanfei will be a formidable opponent for any player competing at the Women’s World Cup.