by Henry Chen
“I hope to clearly see the gap between me and the Chinese contenders through this competition.”
Before departing for Doha, Japan’s top male player, Jun Mizutani shared his expectation for the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. It is Mizutani’s come-back appearance after his impressive performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In his last international competition, Jun Mizutani defeated Xu Xin in the Olympic Team final. He overcame the Chinese world champion in five games (12-10, 11-9, 3-11, 7-11, 12-10).
This week in the Ali Bin Hamad Al-Atiyah Arena, the Japanese player will have a chance to stage another outstanding performance, probably against the Rio 2016 Olympic Men’s Singles title holder, Ma Long.
Mizutani’s first challenger in Qatar will be Jeoung Youngsik of Korea Republic.
Meanwhile, the top female player of the Japanese Team, Kasumi Ishikawa, has a more specific goal in the competition.
“I am hoping to have a good result. I hope to end this year by challenging the level of the Chinese players.” Kasumi Ishikawa
Ishikawa is the second seed in the Women’s Singles event. She is in the second half of the draw with Zhu Yuling. The only chance for her to challenge Zhu Yuling is for her to reach the penultimate stage.
Additional to the upcoming competition in Doha, the Japanese players were also asked about their views on the Japanese Association’s plan of launching their own professional table tennis league.
Ishikawa is definitely pleased about the plan. “I am happy. If this will happen, I hope that it will start soon. I want to participate in it.” She said.
Meanwhile, Jun Mizutani is not as thrilled as Ishikawa.
“I probably will not participate in it because I don’t think it can only be with Japanese players. We also need players from China and Europe. If it is not strong or if there is no competitive environment, then playing it will be meaningless.” Jun Mizutani