04 Apr 2019

Perhaps not the best of fortunes for Kasumi Ishikawa at the recently concluded Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Open in Doha, a first round defeat at the hands of China’s Sun Yingsha; however, even if she did not sparkle in the Gulf region of the world, surely, she can look forward to her next challenge with more than a degree of confidence.

Alongside Miu Hirano, she forms the host nation’s challenge for honours at the forthcoming Lion 32nd ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup Yokohama 2019; play starts on Friday 5th April.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Kasumi Ishikawa is the no.3 seed behind the Chinese duo comprising Zhu Yuling and Cheng Meng; Miu Hirano is the no.5 seed, she is next in line to Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching.

It is a tournament in which, since first staged in 1983 in Wuxi, Kasumi Ishikawa has arguably the best record of all Japanese players; no Japanese player has ever won the women’s singles event, only one player from the Land of the Rising Sun has reached the final. Moreover, other than Kasumi Ishikawa only one other has finished in third place.

In 2004 in Kitakyushu, Ai Fukuhara concluded matters in runners up spot, at the time only 15 years old, she was beaten by Hong Kong’s Tie Yana; earlier in Pune, in 1997 Miyoko Takahashi finished in third place.

Somewhat differently, Kasumi Ishikawa has finished in the bronze medal position on no less four occasions; she reserved the third step of the podium on the two most recent occasions in 2017 in Ahmedabad and last year in Yokohama. Earlier in 2013 in Hong Kong, it was the same finish. However, note the first time she secured third spot. It was in 2007 in Hanoi; now much has been written about the feats of Miu Hirano succeeding at a very young age, when Kasumi Ishikawa secured the bronze medal in Vietnam’s capital city, she was only 14 years old.

She remains to this day, the youngest ever medallist in the Asian Cup; it is a record that even her male colleague, Tomokazu Harimoto cannot break! At 15 years of age and competing in Yokohama, he is relative senior citizen.

Furthermore, in Yokohama there is another record Kasumi Ishikawa might just break. It’s perhaps not a record she wants but one she might just accept. Secure the third step of the podium and she will become the bronze medal winner, male or female, more times than any other player in the history of the tournament!

At the moment she is level with Hong Kong’s Chai Po Wa; she was the bronze medallist in 1988 and 1991 in Manila, in 1989 in Beijing and in 1996 in New Delhi.

Chai Po Wa, four times a bronze medallist (Photo: John Wood)
2019 Asian Cup Kasumi Ishikawa

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Day 2 - Lion 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup