by Simon Daish
The biggest table tennis event of the year was hosted in the Swedish city of Halmstad at the beginning of the month as the world’s finest players gathered for the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships. As anticipated there were plenty of surprises including shock defeats and the late formation of a Unified Korea team in the Women’s Championship Division but the main headlines went to China.
The squad of Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling, Liu Shiwen, Chen Meng and Wang Manyu led China to a fourth consecutive gold medal finish in the Women’s Championship Division while the line-up of Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Chuqin saw off top seeds Germany at the final hurdle of the Men’s Championship Division – China now holds a record 21 titles in both of the events.
May also hosted the fourth stop on the ITTF World Tour with Hong Kong the destination. China’s Wang Manyu saw off fellow compatriot Chen Xingtong to collect her third Women’s Singles title of the year and there was a first in the Men’s Singles event as Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura added his name to the list of ITTF World Tour winners. The local crowd celebrated success in the Men’s Doubles category as Wong Chun Ting and Ho Kwan Kit produced the goods with Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha prevailing in the Women’s Doubles draw.
Spectators at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Thailand Open received a pleasant surprise as Liu Shiwen made the trip to Bangkok to compete for the Women’s Singles prize while Australia won big at the 2018 ITTF-Oceania Cup held in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Watch the Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast video below for May’s biggest news stories:
Here’s your Pongcast question of the month: How many times did the Chinese Women’s Team already win the World Team Championships?
Comment your answer on the Pongcast post below or via the ITTF Facebook page and share the video for a chance to win a piece of gear from Nittaku. The winner will be picked at random.