by Simon Daish
Born in Baoding, China Li Qian moved to Poland where she became a naturalised citizen in 2007 and is set to compete in her fourth World Championships.
Positioned 37th in the current ITTF World Rankings table Li Qian is the highest ranked Polish female player and is well known for her defensive capabilities on the world table tennis scene.
Last time out at the Qoros 2015 World Championships in Suzhou Li Qian was left disappointed in the Women’s Singles draw, exiting to Singapore’s Yu Mengyu in the round of 32 (13-15, 8-11, 3-11, 5-11).
However, at the very same event Li Qian deservedly received silverware as the Polish representative partnered Li Jie of the Netherlands to claim a bronze medal finish in the Women’s Doubles competition.
Another Polish competitor heading to the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf is Natalia Partyka, who could be one of the main players to keep a close eye on at the tournament.
Natalia Partyka has proven to be one of the world’s standout Para players throughout her table tennis career claiming the Class 10 Women’s Singles gold medal at four consecutive Paralympic Games, and the 27-year-old also happens to be a major force outside of the Para game.
Competing at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in February, Natalia Partyka beat China’s Wu Yang (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9) and Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun (11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 13-11) on her way to securing a top eight finish in Doha.
Poland may not have enjoyed the most success at previous World Championships, but the country was involved in one eye-catching moment of World Championships history in particular.
The 1936 World Championships in Prague saw a record-breaking one-point exchange take place between Poland’s Alojzy Ehrlich and Romania’s Paneth Farkas which lasted two hours and 12 minutes.
While Alojzy Ehrlich’s perseverance and achievement was mind blowing, Li Qian and Natalia Partyka may be looking to make history at the upcoming World Championships in other more conventional ways.