by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
China’s Ma Long and Fan Zhendong alongside Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Quadri Aruna are the nominees for the Male Star Player award; for their female counterparts, again China is very much to the fore. Ding Ning is named alongside DPR Korea’s Kim Song I and the Japanese teenage duo of Miu Hirano and Mima Ito.
Now as the clock ticks to the start of proceedings, the 2016 Breakthrough Star and Star Coach nominations have been announced.
The Breakthrough Star award recognizes the rising stars in the sport; the ITTF Star Coach acknowledges those who guide those centre stage to success.
Presented by the Monday Club, the England’s Men’s Team alongside Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Miu Hirano are the names who have been cited in the Breakthrough Star Award category.
Newly promoted to the Championship Division was an outstanding achievement for England at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships; later with the same three players representing Great Britain, a quarter-final place was achieved at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Both tournaments witnessed classic battles against France, with Alan Cooke guiding his charges to victory by the very narrowest of margins; for Patrick Chila it was agony as he saw match points surrendered in the heat of the battle.
Achieving beyond expectations, it was the same for Tomokazu Harimoto and Miu Hirano; for Liu Guoliang it was as predicted. He is man who is expected to deliver; in 2016 he delivered yet again as China completed a clean sweep of all major titles on offer.
Somewhat conversely, Tomokazu Harimoto and Miu Hirano, two players of whom we were well aware at the start of the year made their presence felt. Only 13 years old, Tomokazu Harimoto ascended to the top of the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, Miu Hirano, 16 years old, won the Seamaster Women’s World Cup.
The winners of the 2016 Male and Female Table Tennis Star will based on 50 per cent of votes from fans and 50 per cent from an expert panel of judges; the Star Point is based totally on the vote of the fans. The remaining awards: Star Coach, Breakthrough Star, Male and Female Para Star and the Fair Play Star are decided by a group of experts.
Voting closes on Sunday 13th November
For further information kindly contact Matt Pound, ITTF Promotion and Media Manager