by Henry Chen
The trial followed the selection tournament held from Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th January in which 14 players competed.
Wang Manyu emerged in top spot in an event organised on all-play-all basis; it was a competition in which Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling did not compete owing to injury. Liu Shiwen was serving a suspension owing to injury.
Hu Limei, Wang Yidi, Gu Ruochen and Liu Fei finished in the bottom four places and were thus in danger of relegation to the second team. They were required to compete in a competition, again organised on an all play all basis, against top four players from the second team: Liu Xi, Sun Yingsha, Liu Ming and He Zhuojia.
Liu Xi, Gu Ruochen and Sun Yingsha finished in the top three places and thus gained first team positions.
Notably, all three names have international experience; especially Gu Ruochen.
She reached the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour German Open, whilst earlier winning Junior Girls’ Singles titles on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Hong Kong in both 2011 and 2012. Furthermore, in those years she was a semi-finalist at the World Junior Championships.
Similarly, Liu Xi reached the semi-finals of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Japan Open, having two years earlier been the runner up on the ITTF World Junior Circuit on home soil in Chengdu.
Meanwhile for Sun Yingsha, only 16 years old, it is at events which form part of the ITTF Global Junior Programme where she has excelled.
On the ITTF World Junior Circuit in China she was a semi-finalist in 2015, the runner up in 2016; also in the last year she advanced to the penultimate round in Hong Kong.