by Wade Townsend
With only one men’s and one women’s ticket up for grabs in stage one of the Marvellous 12, there was no room for error. Anything less than top of the table would be falling short.
After five days of competition Fan Zhendong and Liu Shiwen emerged from the gladiatorial like spectacle as the winners.
Fan won last months qualification event for the Marvellous 12, and was able to continue his winning form in Shenzhen.
“I am very happy to get the WTTC ticket and I am satisfied with my performance these last few days.” Fan Zhendong
It was Fan’s head to head win over Ma Long that secured his place, and it is a win that the whole world will take notice of.
Fan has always been junior to the other three members of the Big Four, but now he is looking at taking a senior position in the team.
“I learned a lot from them, including in the Rio Olympics. Now the cycle for Tokyo begins. I hope I can shoulder more important tasks and play more a important role in the new cycle.” Fan Zhendong
Meanwhile Liu Shiwen had a perfect tournament. She went eleven wins without a loss to her name, completely separating herself from the rest of the field.
“I am very thankful now. Will make full preparations for the WTTC and hope I can get good achievements in Germany.” Liu Shiwen
With such a strong performance, many will be surprised to learn that ‘retirement’ is a word that Liu came close to using last year.
“I never thought that I could win all the matches since I have not played for quiet a long time. This ticket will largely improve my confidence. Actually I even thought about giving up last year. But later I rethought what table tennis means in my life and decided to come back to the team.” Liu Shiwen
It doesn’t look like she is going anywhere anytime soon.
We have our stage one winners, but the tournament isn’t over yet. There is still one more ticket available at the Marvellous 12. The players will have a day to rest and recoup before stage two gets underway.