12 Dec 2019

Lily Zhang from the United States, has been named the 2019 "Breakthrough Star".

The announcement was made at the ITTF Star Awards ceremony in Zhengzhou, China on Wednesday 11th December.

by Simon Daish

Enjoying a stunning year on the international scene, the 23 year old has been justly rewarded for her outstanding efforts in recent months.

It was her display at the 2019 ITTF-Pan American Championships that ignited her incredible campaign, capturing four gold medals in Asuncion. Thus she became the first player to achieve the feat in the tournament’s three year history.

However, it was the outing at the Uncle Pop 2019 ITTF Women’s World Cup that really caught the eye as she guided the United States to its first ever semi-final appearance at the prestigious event. Lily’s fantastic year on the world stage is further endorsed by her progress in the women’s world rankings. She has risen 69 positions to a personal best of no.26 in December.

She beat two exciting candidates to the award in China’s Wang Chuqin and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju; both of whom also deserve great credit for their achievements in the past year.

“Wow, this is very unexpected. I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting me. Thank you so much to my sponsors, Joola especially for taking a huge chance on me this year. Thank you to my friends and my fans who have really been there for me and lifted me out of some dark times this year and most of all thank you to my family who have been there since day one and sacrificed almost everything to give me even this opportunity to pursue my passion. I just feel super grateful and super humbled to even be nominated amongst this incredible group of athletes; it has been just such a rollercoaster of a year. So thank you so much to ITTF and to everyone out there.” Lily Zhang

Lily becomes the first American to receive an ITTF Star Award and is only the second player based outside of Japan to collect the Breakthrough Star award. She follows India’s Manika Batra who succeeded last year.

ITTF Star Awards Lily Zhang

2019 ITTF Star Awards