By Neha Aggarwal
39-year old Kim Kyungah from Korea Republic, bronze medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is currently unranked in the world, but certainly has not lost her charm as she upset Hong Kong’s 24 year old youngster Lee Hong Ching, currently ranked 29th on the global charts. Kim Kyungah’s defensive skills proved her dominance as she swept the young paddler away with a 3-1 victory to enter the round of 32.
Winner of four world championships bronze medals (2012, 2011, 2009, 2007), and winner of 17 ITTF World Tour titles (singles and doubles included), Kim Kyungah certainly announced her arrival back at the international scene. She retired from international competition after the 2012 London Olympic Games but announced her comeback in 2015 and her plans to play in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Expressing her joy of the game that keeps her going, the veteran said:
“I’m happy to win the match. I enjoy this game and the tournament. I really love playing table tennis, and I want to keep competing with the other players, which is very interesting. As for the following games and the WTTC as well, I enjoy playing table tennis, that’s how I prepare.”- Kim Kyungah
She will now play against Kato Miyu (Japan) in the round of 32 stage.
Upsets continue for Hong Kong as one of the most unexpected result came from Thailand’s 16 year old and unranked Orawan Paranang who beat Mak Tze Wing, ranked 86 in the world. The match was decided in a full five games encounter.
On the other side, Iran’s Fateheh Jamalifar, ranked 556 in April 2017, upset a higher ranked Manika Batra from India. Batra is the highest ranked Indian currently at 93 in the world. Jamalifar beat Batra in four games to progress to the next round where she will now take over China’s Liu Shiwen, the second seed of the tournament.
The very strong Japanese contingent, specially in the women’s side with its recent successes at the World Tour, faced a big blow as Hitomi Sato, who also played the longest rally of the modern era last month against Netherland’s Li Jie at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open faced defeat from the hands of Choe Hyon Hwa (PRK) in a thrilling 2-3 encounter. She will now face Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam in the round of 32.
Rest of the top seeded players, Ding Ning, Liw Shiwen, Cheng-I-Ching, Ito Mima, Zhu Yuling, Feng Tianwei, Cheng Meng moved to the next stage without any hiccups. The round of 32 matches will be played on 14th April, from 10:00am (local time) onwards.