by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
China is present in force, eight boys and eight girls from the modern day powerhouse of the sport appear on the entry list; the majority new to the international scene but there are names to note.
Yuan Licen and Xu Haidong are the male names to attract the eye, for the girls it is Kuia Man, Qian Tianyi and Zhang Binyue.
Qian Tianyi is arguably the most celebrated of all; notably she has won the Junior Girls’ Singles event at each of the three most recent editions of the China Junior and Cadet Open. Furthermore, at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda, she was a member of the successful Chinese outfit in the Girls’ Team event; later she reach the semi-final round of the Girls’ Singles competition.
Impressively, at the 2017 China Junior and Cadet Open, Kuai Man was the Cadet Girls’ Singles runner up and Junior Girls’ Singles semi-finalist.
Impressive performances, at the same tournament, two years earlier, Zhang Binyue reached the Junior Girls’ Singles quarter-final round, losing to Qian Tianyi.
Similarly Xu Haidong and Yuan Licen have proved themselves most worthy adversaries.
In 2016 Xu Haidong was the Junior Boys’ Singles runner up at the China Junior and Cadet Open, a finish he secured in 2017 in Hong Kong. Later in the year at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships he was a member of the gold medal winning Chinese Boys’ Team and a Boys’ Singles quarter-finalist.
Notable performances, it is the same with regards to Yuan Licen. On the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit, he was a Junior Boys’ Singles semi-finalist on home soil in China, notably losing to Xu Haidong; one week later he was the runner up in Hong Kong.
A quite prodigious entry; play commences with the team events.