by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The selection represents the change of thinking that has taken place since silver medals were gained in the Women’s event at the World Team Championships in 2004 in Doha and two years later in Bremen.
Tie Yana and Lau Sui Fei were present on both occasions. In the former, Zhang Rui, now the women’s national coach, completed the line-up in the final, in the latter it was Lin Ling. All honed their skills in China before moving to Hong Kong; the current group has progressed through the most effective coaching scheme that has been put in place in recent times.
All are new well versed in the trials and tribulations of international play but when compared with their illustrious predecessors, they have at least one more rung of the ladder to climb.
To date none has won a Women’s Singles title on the ITTF World Tour, the nearest is Lee Ho Ching, her best ever being most pertinent with the forthcoming tournament in mind. She was the runner up in Budapest in 2015 when beaten in the final by Japan’s Masako Wakamiya.
Conversely, Tie Yana, during her illustrious career, won nine ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles, Jiang Huajun emerged victorious four times; also when representing Hong Kong Lau Sui Fei and Lin Ling each enjoyed one success.
Close for Lee Ho Ching in ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles events; in Under 21 Women’s Singles competitions, she has three such titles to her name, for Doo Hoi Kem and Ng Wing Nam it is one each. Notably last year when Doo Hoi Kem won in Doha, she beat Minnie Soo Wai Yam in the final.
Similarly, together Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching have enjoyed ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles success; they won in Zagreb in 2016 when beating Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun in the final.
Impressive but if they are to match Tie Yana and Zhang Rui, they have a momentous task ahead. In a period of less than four years, from Velenje in 2005 to Shanghai in 2008, the duo won no less than 10 ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles titles.
They are second only to the Chinese pairings of Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen alongside Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia who each have 11 such titles to their credit. Furthermore, the swansong win in Shanghai was most relevant. They beat Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia in the final. Other than for withdrawal through injury, it was the last occasion when Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia experienced defeat on the international scene in a Women’s Doubles event.
Prodigious examples for the current generation; in Budapest in the Women’s Singles event Lee Ho Ching is the no.2 seed followed immediately by Doo Hoi Kem. Minnie Soo Wai Yam is the no.12 seed and is also the top name in the Under 21 Women’s Singles competition. Next in line is Mak Tze Wing.
In the Women’s Doubles event, Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching occupy the top seeded spot; Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam reserve the no.4 position.