by Simon Daish
Looking Promising for Germany
Germany are poised for a successful campaign at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships after their players Han Ying, Petrissa Solja and Shan Xiaona put in a stunning performance in the Women’s Team category of the 2016 Olympic Games, taking the silver medal in Rio de Janeiro in August to establish themselves as major contenders for silverware moving forward.
Now just a couple of months on from the Games; Han Ying, Petrissa Solja and Shan Xiaona have been named as the top three seeds in the Women’s Singles category of the European Championships, and for Han the 2016 rendition of the tournament presents her with a real chance of making a big time name for herself on the Singles stage.
Leading the way as the number one seed Han Ying will automatically be considered as one of the favourites to take the title at the Tüskecsarnok venue, but the it is the Women’s Team events that have provided her with the happier memories in terms of results .
Han was born in Liaoning, China in 1983 but moved to Europe before obtaining German citizenship in 2010. The Liebherr 2013 European Championships saw Han win gold in the Women’s Team competition with Germany, a feat she would accomplish again at the following year’s edition of the tournament.
More team success arrived for Han in 2015 at the inaugural European Games in Baku where Germany’s women picked up the gold medal, before a third European Championships Women’s Team trophy in a row went to Germany after their victory in Ekaterinburg (2015).
However, despite her accomplishments with the national team Han Ying is arguably yet to show her true potential in the Women’s Singles game.
Triumphs at the GAC Group Korea Open and Austria Open in 2014 and 2015 respectively mark Han’s personal best record on the ITTF World Tour in the Women’s Singles category, while quarter-final finishes at both the 2015 European Games and 2015 European Championships leaves plenty of room for improvement for the German competitor.
Exiting at the quarter-finals stage appears to have become a common theme for Han, having been condemned to that fate on four occasions already in 2016.
The 2016 Kuwait, Qatar and Polish Opens all saw last eight finishes for Han on the World Tour, and a straight games loss to Ding Ning (CHN) at the same stage saw the pattern continue at Rio 2016.
Will the Liebherr 2016 European Championships see Han Ying break her trend of quarter-final disappointments in Women’s Singles events? That question will be answered somewhere between the 18th- 21st October. Regardless of Han’s personal performance in Budapest, with Petrissa Solja and Shan Xiaona sitting close by in the seeding list Germany’s chances of glory at the Championships look bright.