by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Six appearances on the 2016 ITTF World Tour, Ma Long won in Germany and Qatar; additionally he was the runner up in Kuwait, Korea and on home soil in China, whilst being a semi-finalist in Japan.
Similarly, the record for Ding Ning is most impressive; five excursions, always she reached the final. She won in Korea and like Ma Long in China, whilst being the runner up in Kuwait, Qatar and in Japan.
Olympic Games gold medallists, reigning World champions and each presently listed at no.1 on the relevant World rankings, they are most prominent names of the year.
However, there two notable names not included on the confirmed list of Women’s Singles entries for Doha. China’s Liu Shiwen, who emerged successful in three consecutive Grand Finals, winning in London in 2011, then the following year in Hangzhou before succeeding at the 2013 gathering staged in Dubai in early 2014, is not included on the final list.
Also, Yu Mengyu, whose future as a member of the Singapore National Team appears to be in some doubt, is absent from the definitive order. The effect is that Korea’s Suh Hyowon and Hitomi Sato gain the last two places.
Somewhat conversely, all 16 players who qualified for the Men’s Singles event at the Grand Finals have indicated participation.
Names confirmed; the names who ended the year at the top of the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles Standing, have also replied positively to the invitation.
Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the winners in Germany and Poland head the Men’s Doubles list; Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, occupy pole position on the Women’s Doubles seeding. They emerged successful in Hungary, Germany and Poland.
However, as in the Women’s Singles final order, there are changes when compared with the original list.
In the Men’s Doubles event, Belgium’s Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck replace Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi; on the Women’s Doubles final resume, Japan’s Yui Hamamoto and Hina Hayata are included as Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel.
Named on the original invitation list Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen, in addition to Yu Mengyu and Singaporean colleague, will not compete in the Women’s Doubles event in Doha.
Meanwhile, all eight invitations to play in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event have been accepted; on the counterpart Under 21 Men’s Singles invitations, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem replaces Korea’s Choi Hyojoo.
The winner in Qatar and China, Ho Kwan Kit, like Doo Hoi Kem from Hong Kong, heads the Under 21 Men’s Singles order of merit; on the Under 21 Women’s Singles listings, Singapore’s Zeng Jian is the top name. She won in Qatar, Japan and China.
At the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, seeding is determined by the final order on the 2016 ITTF World Tour Standings; all events are organised on the knock-out principle.