By Neha Aggarwal
She entered, conquered, shattered all records, broke the Chinese dominance, left the table tennis community surprised and instilled a new belief in all.
Miu Hirano, the new Asian Champion. Take a bow young lady.
Hirano beat China’s Chen Meng in match that was completely one sided, all forces moving towards the 17-year old Japanese. The 10th seed Hirano beat the fifth seeded Chinese (11-9, 11-8, 11-7) to take home this prestigious crown as she jumped in joy like a little baby.
Today, the Hurricane Hirano proved simply too fast for Chen Meng. Her movements and early timing on the ball left the Chinese surprised. She never retreated from the table, stayed close throughout, giving Chen Meng minimal time to react. Above all, Hirano’s serves, with its varied spins at the right times caused Chen Meng the biggest problems.
En route the finals, Hirano beat World no.2 Zhu Yuling in the semi-finals and Olympic Champion and World no.1 Ding Ning in the quarter finals.
“I’m very happy and surprised with the victory. I had never thought that I could defeat the Chinese players, let alone upsetting three in a row. Previously against Ding Ning, I have never won, not a game off her.” Miu Hirano
Elaborating on her preparation before the tournament, Hirano made things very clear. She said, “This time in Wuxi, my strategies were thorough, and I came with a good mindset to challenge my opponents and just fight my way through. I didn’t do any special preparations for the match, I slept for a while after eating, and watched some match footages after I woke up, nothing different from before.”
She has been a part of the Chinese Super League since 2016 which certainly made a huge difference. Reflecting on that Hirano said, “I learnt a lot from my participation in the Chinese Super League last year, I think my improvements definitely has got to do with that.”
“The Chinese have great skills and techniques, this competition made me feel that the difference between our level have narrowed, and I will work harder to make the difference even smaller between us.” Miu Hirano
Vocal on Goals
After knocking out Ding Ning in the quarter-finals, Miu Hirano had said, “Initially my goal was just to try and win this match against Ding Ning, but now that I have done that, I hope to aim for the Gold medal.” The fearless Hirano was extremly vocal about her dreams to win the title, unlike the Chinese, who do not voice out their desires to win Gold medals.
“I think it’s not important if I can or cannot win, setting the goal to win is most important to me and there’s nothing to be secretive or hide.” Miu Hirano
“Since I could win the title here at the Asian Championships, I hope to continue my good form and performance into the World Championships for the title in Duesseldorf,” she announced.
The Chinese Women’s National team head coach Kong Linghui clearly looked shocked and admitted “It’s a normal score in the final, Hirano was dominating the entire match over Chen Meng, and her techniques are indeed more advanced than ours.”
“Chen Meng had difficulties receiving her serves and did not have any advantage in her first three strokes. We will definitely have to study Hirano’s strengths during our closed training for the Championships. Three consecutive victories against our top players has proven her capabilities.”- Kong Linghui
With the World Championships just a few weeks away, China has a herculean task. But for now, the day belongs to Marvellous Miu.