by Ian Marshall, Editor
Next to Tomokazu Harimoto is Kanak Jha of the United States, followed by Sweden’s Truls Moregard and Lin Yun-Ju; India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, China’s Wang Chuqin, Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Ioannis Sgouropoulos complete the top eight names.
Meanwhile, on the Women’s list, China’s Sun Yingsha is the no.2 seed, pursued by Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling, Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Serbia’s Sabina Surjan. India’s Archana Girish Kamath, Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi and Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yee are the names which immediately follow.
None can match the results gained by Tomokazu Harimoto who of the 64 players on duty is the second youngest; born in June 2003, the only player younger is New Zealand’s Nathan Xu, he entered the world five months later in November.
Wins recorded by Tomokazu Harimoto over the likes of China’s Ma Long and Fan Zhendong put the successes of his challengers into the shade. It is somewhat the same for Miu Hirano, the only difference being that her incredible successes are now approaching 18 months distant when one after another she accounted for China’s Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng at the Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships.
Always one looks to China; usually as the top seeds and odds on favourites. In Buenos Aires, Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha are challengers for a podium place, very strong challengers. Currently we consider Japan to be the main rivals for China? In Buenos Aires is it not the opposite? China is Japan’s main rival?
Arguably China and Japan leads the world but note Chinese Taipei; Lin Yun-Ju and Su Pei-Ling are very much names to ponder from a national association which has an ever growing reservoir of talent. Equally matching established world nations, Manav Vikash Thakkar and Archana Girish Kamath underline the recent progress made in India; they are very much in the mix.
Somewhat differently, the names of Kanak Kha and Adriana Diaz are prominent; since table tennis was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul, the medallists have always been from the traditional continents of Asia and Europe; the same very much applies if you turn the clock back to the first ever World Championships in 1926 in London.
Now in just two Youth Olympic Games, 2010 in Singapore and four years ago in Nanjing, five continents have won medals! In addition to Asia and Europe, in 2010 Tunisia’s Adem Hmam departed with Team bronze, in Nanjing Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Lily Zhang won the same colour in the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles competitions.
Kanak Jha, Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Adriana Diaz, they are strong contenders to follow suit; strong contenders to maintain the honour of North America, Africa and Latin America.