Top players from China and Japan round up final competition line-up
The inaugural T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League (T2APAC) has confirmed its player lineup that includes several world-class paddlers from China and Japan.
17-year old World No. 16 Hina Hayata from Japan, who recently clinched the bronze in the women’s doubles at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships, and rising-star 13-year old Miyuu Kihara (world no. 158) will lead.
The contingent from China comprises members of the China men’s national team - World No. 51 Shang Kun, Liu Ding Shuo, Xue Fei, and Wang Chu Qin; and from the China women’s national team – World No. 12 Wu Yang, World No. 41 Wang Manyu, Liu Fei, and Sun Yingsha, as well as 15-year old Shi Xunyao, the Girl’s champion of the 2016 World Junior Championships.
Several players will be playing on a rotational basis during the inaugural season.
Said T2APAC CEO, Jeff Chue: “We are delighted to have these top players from China and Japan completing our list of paddlers for the first ever T2APAC season. We believe we have strong international representation that will resonate with audiences from around the world, and we look forward to kicking-off a great event.”
The league currently boasts several world-renowned women’s players including the world’s top female paddler in Ding Ning from China, as well as Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (World No. 4), Cheng I-Ching from Chinese Taipei (World No. 7), and South Korean Yang Haeun (World No. 23). The event will also feature major top-10 men’s players including Dima Ovtcharov from Germany (World No. 5), Jun Mizutani (World No. 6), former World No. 1 Timo Boll from Germany (World No. 8), Chuang Chih-Yuan (World No. 10) of Chinese Taipei, and legendary defensive player Joo Sae Hyuk of South Korea who was ranked 5th in the world at his peak (World No. 17). The league will also feature some of the best young talents in the world such as 13-year-old child prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto (World No. 69) from Japan.
Other top names competing in T2APAC’s inaugural season for a prize purse of over USD 1.5 million include Chen Chien-an (Chinese Taipei), Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus), Paul Drinkhall (England), Georgina Pota (Hungary), Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs (Romania), Jeon Jihee (South Korea), Aleksandr Shibaev (Russia), Matilda Ekholm and Mattias Karlsson (Sweden), as well as Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand).
All players will be grouped into four mixed-teams for the Team Championship by way of a selection process, and picked by four table tennis legends each of whom will lead a team - Jiang Jialiang (former two-time world champion from China, multiple medalist at the World Championships, World Cup and Asian Championships), Jörgen Persson (former world champion and seven-time Olympian from Sweden), Jörg Rosskopf, (bronze medalist in the 1996 Summer Olympics men’s singles from Germany) and Michael Maze (bronze medal winner at the 2004 Olympic Games in the men’s doubles from Denmark).
The four Team Captains will compete to select the best paddlers to build a winning team - each mixed-team will comprise three men’s and three women’s players. The Team Championship will add a new dimension of competitive excitement for audiences throughout the season.
Premiering this 28 June, this first-ever sports league will be held live entirely in the Asian location of Hollywood’s iconic Pinewood Studios, situated in Johor, Malaysia. Unique to T2APAC, all 228 matches in Season 1 will be played and televised live before an invite-only studio audience from the T2CAVERN, a purpose-built arena integrating competition field-of-play, sponsor lounges, hospitality suites, player training area, and production sets that will be specially constructed within a dedicated film stage at the world-class film and television production complex. Since 1936, the world-renowned Pinewood Studios has been the home of blockbuster Hollywood franchises such as Star Wars and James Bond.
In partnership with Pinewood Studios and Astro Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s leading consumer entertainment group, T2APAC aims to deliver the next generation of multi-media ‘sportainment’ for fans and consumers, and an immersive in-venue experience that will enable studio audiences to get up close and personal to the world-class stars and table tennis action.
Touted as the richest competition in today’s professional table-tennis calendar, the players will be battling for an unprecedented prize purse of more than USD 1.75 million in the inaugural season, which will be played across seven match rounds from end of this June to December 2017.