by Kabir Nagpal
Winner of the award in 2015 in Lisbon, it has been a year of contrasts for Liu Shiwen, not an ITTF World Tour women’s singles title to her name; yet three World titles!
After 10 years of trying and at her sixth attempt, in April she won the won the women’s singles title at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest.
Later in the year in October in Chengdu, she emerged successful at the Uncle Pop 2019 Women’s World Cup, winning the event for an unprecedented fifth time; her first success being a decade earlier in 2009 in Guangzhou. The win established Liu Shiwen as firmly the most successful player in the history of the tournament that dates back to 1996 when the inaugural edition was held in Hong Kong.
“I am so happy to win the Female Table Tennis Star award again. It is a big recognition of my whole year’s efforts. I experienced a lot in 2017 and 2018. It is really hard to imagine that I could make the breakthrough to win at the World Championships and Women’s World Cup this year. I want to thank my team for helping a lot in my training and competition. Our ultimate goal is for Tokyo 2020, so let me leave further thanks until then.” Liu Shiwen
Successful in Budapest and in Chengdu; in November it was also success in Tokyo; she was a member of the Chinese outfit that won the women’s title at the ZEN-NOH 2019 Team World Cup.
A momentous year for the now 28 year old on whom we first set eyes on the international stage in 2004 at the World Junior Championships in Kobe when only 13 years old; she played in all four events – girls’ team, girls’ singles, girls’ doubles, mixed doubles – she lost just one match. She was beaten in the girls’ singles final by her far more senior colleague, Chang Chenchen.
In 2019 that promise was more than fulfilled.