By Neha Aggarwal
According to reports from T2APAC themselves, Tomokazu Harimoto, the youngest Junior World Champion crowned in 2016 at the age of 13, will be one of the star attractions of the highly sought after league. Currently World no.61, Harimoto is a treat to watch, his versatility of strokes and power in the shots is simply top notch.
His recent runner-up position at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open gave a scare to the best of the best athletes at the senior level. Harimoto is fearless and does not shy away from showing off his emotions, his loud cheers after winning points is a trademark the fans enjoy.
Commenting on Harimoto’s addition to T2APAC, Yoshihito Miyazaki, National Team Director of Japan said:
“We are delighted that Tomo will be competing in this tournament against some major names in the table tennis circuit, which will go a long way to build his match experience and mental strength. We’re confident this tournament will play an important stepping stone to spur his development towards the bigger goal of competing as a medal hopeful at Tokyo 2020. We’re very proud of his recent achievements and his progress bodes well for our national team.”- Yoshihito Miyazaki, National Team Director of Japan
22-year-old Bernadette Szocs is Romania’s star player, who caused a first round upset in February’s 2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup in Antibes, France, beating the 5th seed Li Qian of Poland. Szocs is the 2012 Romanian National Champion is currently ranked at no.57 in the world.
With Szocs joining the T2APAC League, the oomph factor is certainly raised high as she is a fashionista and models for the table tennis brand Tibhar.
T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League 2017 is recognized and supported by the ITTF, the Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU), and the Hong Kong Table Tennis Association (HKTTA) and will feature 24 world class players, 12 men’s and 12 women’s players.
Competing in separate but concurrent men’s, women’s, and mixed-team league competitions, the first season will comprise of 228 men’s and women’s singles matches played entirely in Hong Kong from July to December 2017, and during breaks in the current international and domestic table-tennis calendars.
This inaugural league is touted as the richest table tennis league, with a prize money of USD $ 1.5 million.
The format of the matches will be time bound. Each match is limited to 24 minutes, where players try to win as many games as possible within the duration. All players will play in separate but concurrent singles and mixed-team championships in a league format. All players will go through a draft selection process which will be selected by team captains.
This star studded league has already signed the following players: Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany), Timo Boll (Germany), Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei), Joo Sae Hyuk (South Korea), Jun Mizutani (Japan), Feng Tianwei (Singapore), Chen Chien-An (Chinese Taipei), Paul Drinkhall (England), Elizabeta Samara (Romania), Yang Haeun and Jeon Jihee (Korea Republic), Aleksandr Shibaev (Russia), Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus), Georgina Pota (Hungary), Matilda Ekholm (Sweden), Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand) and Mattias Karlsson (Sweden).
More players will be announced soon to complete the roster of 24 world class players.
Information taken from t2apac.com.