Jul 25, 2017

STL 2017 Set For More High-Flying Action

Kuala Lumpur (25 July 2017):  Pegged as Malaysia’s TOP sepaktakraw League, STL houses the nations TOP players as they duke it out yearly for the bragging right of being the nation’s best!

When the league started, the main goal was to provide a platform for Malaysian sepaktakraw players to showcase their skills and talents that can help pave the path for future sepaktakraw players to build a career out of the sport. STL has just gotten a huge boost with the introduction of the Champions Cup; a double knock – out international invitational where STL’s champions will compete against some of Southeast Asia’s (SEA) best of the best clubs.

Youth and Sports Minister, YB Brigadier General Khairy Jamaluddin acknowledged STL as a competent way of discovering players with exceptional talents that could help to enhance both the league and the quality of the sport.

"STL is an excellent platform to gauge any hidden gifts amongst the players, enabling them to be discovered, which will then lead to an opportunity of developing their careers and perhaps earning them a place in the national team later on. This will surely benefit the league and further hike the value of sepaktakraw. After all, we can see for ourselves that the players featuring in STL are the ones representing the country in the KL SEA Games 2017,” said Khairy.

Not forgetting the extensive amount of effort Astro and Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) had invested and still investing in STL, the value of sepaktakraw in the country enjoyed a well-deserved boost. Its popularity has flourished out of sight and also played a vital part in helping the national team advance in the world rankings. Malaysia are now second behind world champions Thailand.

The Vice-President of Sports Business Content Group Astro, Lee Choong Khay said he is encouraged to see the positive response for STL since its launch.

"After 3 seasons, we are pleased to see the revival of sepaktakraw among Malaysians. Viewership of STL has been growing yearly, hitting a new record of 5.6 million viewers in the 2016 season versus with 4.8 million viewers a year earlier. Compared with the 2015 season, the number of viewers has increased by 17%,” said Choong Khay.

With the league rebranding in 2016, the league saw a renewed interest within the younger Malaysians as its digital reach recorded a 200% increase as the Facebook page has grown to a remarkable 105,000 followers, whereas the number of followers on its Instagram profile escalated to over 18,000 with thousands of international content shares engaging millions worldwide.

In addition of catching all STL action on Astro Arena Channel 801 & 802HD, Astro Supersport and Astro Go, fans will now be able to also tune in to NJOI Now, which is Malaysia’s first subscription-free satellite TV service for extensive STL 2017 coverage. With both Astro and NJOI Now, it offers a total reach of 21 million Malaysians on all screens which we hope to drive viewership of STL even higher this season.

STL 2016 which lasted for 10 weeks became the longest running sepaktakraw tournament the nation has ever witnessed. On certain weekends, the viewership amounted to approximately 900,000 viewers per day. In view of STL’s continuous improvement every year, 10 client brands decided to place their trust in the league and offer their support in building the sport. Among the leading sponsors of STL 2017 are Thai sports equipment company, Football Thai Factory Sporting Goods (FBT).
Given the impressive performances by all teams in STL 2016 when a new format was introduced, fans can be sure that STL 2017 will have more thrilling action in store as the competition is expected to be even keener this time round with the use of the same state-based inter “regu” format.

Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Ismail, President of Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM), expressed his hopes for the upcoming league.

"Personally, I have high hopes for the upcoming STL season because judging from last year’s edition, it was very well played and the end result was an unpredictable surprise for everyone. Hence, I shall keep an open mind and look forward to being awed by the teams this time round,” said Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Ismail.

Returning to STL 2017 are last season’s champions Penang Black Panthers, joined by teams from Johor, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, ATM Guardians as well as two newcomers, Perak Bisons and Selangor Pistons. STL Division 1 on the other hand, will comprise of 12 teams among which includes PDRM Defenders, Kedah Eagles, Melaka Titans and Perlis Vipers who will all be gunning to be champions. All 14 Malaysian states will be represented by the teams competing in STL 2017. 

Serdang Jaya Municipal Council Stadium will continue to host this year’s STL starting on Sept 29 with the STL Champions Cup grand final to be played on Dec 23.  Fans can catch the ongoing sepaktakraw action every Friday from 8 to 11pm and 4 to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday for a period of 12 weeks by tuning in to Astro Arena Channel 801 & 802HD, Astro Supersport, Astro Go and NJOI TV. For further information on STL 2017, log on to http://stl.my/ or STL Facebook page and Instagram.  

Jul 18, 2017

They Came, They Saw, They Conquered

Kuala Lumpur (17 July, 2017): The second half of the Viper Challenge series in Malaysia, widely acknowledged as Asia’s biggest obstacle course running event, continued its momentum over a demanding Genting Highlands from where it left off two months ago in Medini, Johor.

Dubbed the Great Eastern Genting King of the Mountain, 10,000 participants took up the challenge for the third year as they battled the hilly terrain, winding roads and some new obstacles. The cool climate at The Ranch in Awana, Genting Highlands was a welcome change for all participants after the energy sapping heat of the previous stops. 

A heavy drizzle on Saturday morning did not dampen the mood of the participants with the elite participants making their way through the adrenaline-pumping obstacles in the first wave starting at 7.00am. Participants were flagged off at 30-minute intervals until the last wave at 1.40pm.

The Great Eastern Genting King of the Mountain, the first of the mid-level Viper Challenge event, was graced with the presence of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Bhd, YBhg Dato’ Koh Yaw Hui who flagged off about 300 staffs and agents of Great Eastern that participated in the 8.30am wave.

Participants received their medals and finisher t-shirt once they had completed the challenge which covered a distance of 10km and the 15 obstacles. As an added attraction the Great Eastern’s LIVE GREAT booth offered free photo printouts and chances to win Starbucks gift cards at the 'LIVE GREAT Fitness Challenge'.

The Great Eastern Viper Challenge 2017 Series is presented by Great Eastern Life as part of their 'LIVE GREAT Programme', the first integrated health and wellness programme by an insurance company in the region. It comprises five components including wellness tools, health tips, mobile applications, workshops and events. Added to this, customers can use the LIVE GREAT Card to enjoy exclusive health and wellness privileges at partner establishments throughout the region.

Due to the exceptionally high demand, the Viper jet package offered an impressive deal for participants to travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur before making their way up to Genting Highlands. The package for two included flight tickets to and from Singapore, entry tickets to the Great Eastern Genting King of the Mountain and two nights stay at the First World Hotel, Genting.

“This is our third time here in Genting and the demand has been ever increasing as Viper Challenge provides an unforgettable experience. It also serves as an escape route for those caught up in a fast-paced lifestyle and assures participants a unique experience,” said Simran Latif, Head of Operations of Viper Challenge.

Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), and an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia (MoTAC), has pledged its continuous support of the Viper Challenge. Since the first edition in 2013, more events have been introduced yearly with the brand currently boasting well over 120,000 enthusiasts who have competed in events on the local front and internationally.

Mohammad Hanif, an advertising & multimedia designer who is currently working in Genting Highlands, was thrilled with his exceptional experience after crossing the finish line to earn his medal and finisher t-shirt.

“I am extremely proud of myself for having completed this obstacle course running event as it was my first time. There were times during the event when I thought of quitting, but thankfully my group of friends helped me all the way to the finish line. Despite taking 90 minutes to complete all the obstacles, this was a great experience and will be a pleasant memory when I look back someday,” said the ecstatic Kelantan-born Hanif.

Alyssa Francis, a 21-year-old student with University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), spoke very highly of how the Viper Challenge has helped overcome barriers.

“This Viper Challenge event has really pushed me to limits which I never thought I could reach, physically and mentally. I experienced muscle cramp on my right leg and due to my fear of heights, was terrified as we were going higher up the mountain. Thankfully, I made it to the finish line," said a visibly relieved Alyssa, who is currently pursuing a degree in psychology.

Viper Challenge’s multiple formats which cater to the masses and an elite few, require participants to complete any three of the five events - Singapore, Penang and Johor (entry-level), Genting Highlands, Shah Alam (mid-level) and the final event, the Great Eastern Viper Challenge.

The next Great Eastern Viper Challenge event will be held at the majestic Shah Alam Stadium on September 9, 2017 where the participants will aim to complete their Series Finisher Medal with the grand finale taking place at Cyberjaya in December. Tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.viperchallenge.com

Jul 12, 2017


Wang Manyu narrowly edges Chinese team-mate Sun Yingsha in high-quality match between two rising stars of table-tennis

JOHOR BAHRU, 13 Jul 2017 – Team Persson bounced back from the record 21-8 thrashing by Team Maze in Team Fixture 8 by securing a well-earned 17-12 win over Team JJ, as Round 2 of the T2 Asia Pacific Table Tennis League (T2APAC) continued in Johor Bahru.

Fans at the purpose-built T2Cavern at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, as well as those following live on TV and YouTube were treated to a high quality match filled with intriguing match-ups, kicking off with a fiery all-European women’s tie between Matilda Ekholm and Bernadette Szocs.

Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Vladimir Samsonov showed his vast experience in his match against Swede Mattias Karlsson, while Korean Joo Saehyuk also dug deep in his encounter with 14-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto.

But it was the match between rising Chinese stars Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu that left the audience purring with delight.

Match 1: Matilda Ekholm (SWE) vs Bernadette Szocs (ROM)
For a second straight day, an all-European tie opened the early session, and Ekholm was tasked yet again to lead the Team JJ challenge. But if the Swede was expecting a second straight win, she soon found out Szocs is a tough nut to crack. Despite reaching game point first in a tight opening set, it was Szocs who won 11-10. Ekholm did well in the second game to come from 6-10 behind to level at 10-10, and still lost the deciding point to be 2-0 behind. No wonder a frustrated Ekholm couldn’t help showing her emotions on several occasions. Szocs completely dominated the third game to win 11-2 but couldn’t bridge the gap as Ekholm took the consolation fourth game 9-7. Said Szocs: “I’m really happy because I beat a top player and gained three points for my team. I’m also very happy because I played really well.”

Match 2: Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE) vs Jun Mizutani (JPN)
A highly entertaining encounter with Chuang making amends for his 4-0 loss to Drinkhall the previous day by securing a 3-2 win over Mizutani. Getting off to a good start, Chuang took the first game 11-8, then got the better of the latter stages of the next two games, winning 11-9, 11-9 for a 3-0 lead. Mizutani fought back hard to avert the whitewash and won the fourth 11-7 before taking the Kill Zone game 5-3 to narrow the margin of defeat. Said Chuang: “My form yesterday wasn’t great, so I just focused on doing things right, rather than think too much about how to beat Jun. I’ll just focus on improving my game.”

Match 3: Jeon Jihee (KOR) vs Suthasini Sawettabut (THA)
Jeon’s attempt to break through for her first T2APAC victory will have to wait another day as she went down 4-1 to Suthasini, with the Thai star proving she could improve further with consistency. Against the higher-ranked Jeon, Suthasini got off to the better start, taking the opening game 11-7. Jeon tried her hardest but could not find her rhythm, as Suthasini didn’t let off, winning the next three games 11-9, 11-7 and 11-3. The Kill Zone game gave Jeon the opportunity for damage limitation, which she won 5-3 to avert a 5-0 whitewash. Said Suthasini: “Having lost four points yesterday, I was determined to regain that for my team. I put in a lot of practice, even at the venue before the match, and make sure I kept my energy levels high.”
Match 4: Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) vs Mattias Karlsson (SWE)
Samsonov showed his experience in making the right adjustments after losing the opening game 11-4. Varying his lengths and going after Karlsson’s weaker forehand, the Belarussian veteran came back strongly to take the next four games 11-4, 11-9, 11-5, and 10-2, giving his younger Swedish opponent little opportunity to get back in. Karlsson left to question his game as he suffered a second straight 4-1 thumping. Said Samsonov, who was pleased to have his wife and two kids watching him play: “The last time I played against Mattias, I lost. I know I’m in good shape at the moment but it was still tough after losing the first set. I got good advice from my captain, and played more to his forehand, while he was having problems controlling the pimples.”

Match 5: Sun Yingsha (CHN) vs Wang Manyu (CHN)
An intriguing match between two of China’s brightest young stars who could go on to dominate the women’s game in the next two decades. It was the steady, understated style of Wang that won out in the end although this tight affair could have gone either direction. The dynamic Sun took the first game easily, 11-4, then saw Wang come back to take the second game 11-7. Sun came back from 0-4 and 7-10 behind in the third game, winning the tying 10-10 point with an audacious backhand slap return off Wang’s serve, then winning a classy rally for an 11-10 victory. Wang seized an early lead in the fourth game and this time did not let up as she closed it out 11-6. Game five was equally tight with Sun managing to eke out a 6-4 lead and winning 6-5 as time expired. “Playing a team-mate is always hard, so I just focused my own game and making sure I do things right,” said Wang, who admitted to watching hand gestures and listening out to key words when getting advice from captain Jorg Persson.

Match 6: Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) vs Joo Saehyuk (KOR)
Harimoto belied the 23-year difference with his older Korean opponent by taking the first game handily 11-6. The Japanese teen then led 8-6 in the second game before Joo used his superior experience to get back into the match, and exert his superiority as the match wore on. After winning the second game 11-9, Joo pulled away to take the third game 11-7. Game four looked like going Harimoto’s way after he went 8-5 ahead after calling a time-out, but his mistakes and Joo’s clever variations saw the game ending 11-8 in the Korean’s favour. With time running out, Joo closed out the fifth game 9-6 for a 4-1 overall win. Said captain Persson: “Joo’s experience paid out in this match as he was able to capitalise on Harimoto’s inability to cope with returns that were lower across the net.”


Team Captains’ quotes:

Jiang Jialiang: “Our women’s players simply can’t get a win streak going despite trying their best. But what a great match between the two Chinese girls, the kind of high tempo that is simply thrilling. We’ve now won and lost a match each in Round 2, so let’s see what happens on the final day.”

Jorgen Persson, whose team lost 21-8 to Team Maze in Team Fixture 8:
“We said today is a new day with new possibilities, and I’m very proud of how the team bounced back.”

Quote of the day:
“She said to me she lost to Sun 4-0 at the Japan Open and felt before the game she had no chance. But I told her this 24-minute match is new for both players so she should go and play her heart’s out.” – Team Persson captain Jorgen Persson on his advice to Wang Manyu

Round 2
Match Day 2
Team Fixture 9: Team JJ vs Team Persson


Fightback from debutant Wang Manyu leaves Singapore star Feng Tianwei still seeking her first T2APAC match win

JOHOR BAHRU, 12 July 2017 – If Team Persson had beaten Team Maze 14-12 in the opening round of the T2 Asia Pacific Table Tennis League (T2APAC) two weeks ago, it was the Michael Maze-led side that returned the favour in Round 2.

At the purpose-built T2Cavern at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Michael Maze was all smiles as he watched his players win five of the six matches for an overall score of 21-8, the first time a team has won more than 20 games while restricting the opposition to under 10 games.

Singapore star Feng Tianwei gave notice of more to come as the world number six could count herself unlucky not to carve out her first win of this made-for-TV league, even as Chinese debutant Wang Manyu proved an able replacement for her compatriot Ding Ning on Team Persson.

Match 1: Joo Saehyuk (KOR) vs Chen Chien-An (TPE)
Chen continued from where he left off in Round 1 by getting straight into his stride, giving Joo little chance in the first two games as he won 11-4, 11-5. Korean Joo finally found his way in game three when he came from 6-10 behind to force a final point at 10-10, with the match decided by an exciting crowd-pleasing counter-punching rally won by Chen. The Taiwanese also took the fourth game 11-6 before dropping game 5 6-3 as the clock expired. Said Chen: “I think I was very patient in my play, especially when I was ahead. I’m very satisfied with my performance today.”

Match 2: Bernadette Szocs (ROM) vs Hina Hayata (JPN)
Szocs got off to a flyer, winning the opening game 11-8, then surrendered the next game meekly 1-11. The fiery Romanian fought back hard in the third and were unlucky to drop it 9-11 with nicks off edges leaving her frustrated. Credit to the 22-year-old, she came back strongly to beat Hayata 11-9 in the fourth, having at one point been 5-8 behind. The Kill Zone game was always going to be a lottery, and Hayata finished stronger to win 5-3 and take home the US$1,000 match bonus. Said Hayata: “During the Kill Zone, Szocs changed the way she served, so I told myself so just return it without over-thinking the process, and that worked in my favour.”
Match 3: Jun Mizutani (JPN) vs Aleksandr Shibaev (RUS)
Shibaev gave little regard to Mizutani’s superior ranking with an authoritative 4-1 win over the world number seven, winning the first two games easily 11-7, 11-4, before the Japanese pulled one back by winning the third 11-10. Shibaev was forced into a racquet change after hitting the table on the final point of the third game, and after a slow start to the fourth, the Russian came storming through to win 11-6. Despite trailing 4-3 in the Kill Zone game, Shibaev again dug deep to pull off a win in the special game unique to T2APAC. Said Shibaev: “This is the first time I’ve won a Kill Zone game, so today is a very good day for me. I wasn’t nervous at all in the final game but most importantly, I managed to add four games to my team’s total, so that’s most important for me.”

Match 4: Wang Manyu (CHN) vs Feng Tianwei (SGP)
T2APAC debutant Wang belied her world number 33 ranking to pull off a deserved 3-2 win over Singapore’s world number six Feng. Taking over from her Chinese compatriot, the superstar Ding Ning, Wang showed little nerves in taking the first game 11-8. Feng fought back brilliantly in taking in the next two games 11-7, 11-9, showing the skills fans have come to expect of her. But 18-year-old Wang made adjustments in her game to win the fourth game 11-7, and force a Kill Zone game, which she won 5-3 after going 4-1 in front. Feng, meanwhile, is left searching for her first match win after four outings. Said Wang: “The crucial factor in this victory is patience, and just concentrating on every point whether in front or behind. I was prepared to win or lose but more importantly, it was learning from the experience of playing one of the world’s top-ranked players.”

Match 5: Mattias Karlsson (SWE) vs Timo Boll (GER)
Karlsson and Boll served up a compelling battle between two Europeans, one who is an up-and-coming player while the other a wily old veteran. And it was the experience of Boll that prevailed as the German showed his superiority in taking the opening two games 11-7, 11-6 before yielding the third game 11-10 to Karlsson. Boll was not in charitable mood as he took the fourth game 11-5 and was 4-2 up in the Kill Zone game before winning that as well 5-4.
Said Boll: “Yeah, I think I played a good game. I played quite good tactics, thanks to my coach, and I’m very pleased with the results.”

Match 6: Suthasini Sawettabut (THA) vs Yang Haeun (KOR)
Thai ace Suthasini started her T2APAC campaign two weeks ago with a 3-1 victory over Elizabeta Samara but has not found her winning touch since. And that trend continued against Yang as the Korean just about managed to stay a neck or a nose ahead of her opponent, winning 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, and as the final game 8-7 on a sudden-death point after the clock ran down.


Team Captain’s quote:

Michael Maze: “I had some good players in my team and they performed very well today. We had a little bit of luck at times but everybody was just playing fantastic. But just because we won today doesn’t mean we will win tomorrow, so we have to prepare ourselves for the next match.”

Quote of the day:
“I think everyone’s afraid of Mattias’ crushing forehand, he’s a tall strong guy, but also his backhand is very dangerous.” – Timo Boll of Team Maze after winning his match 4-1 against Mattias Karlsson of Team Persson.

Round 2
Match Day 1
Team Fixture 8: Team Persson vs Team Maze


Englishman Drinkhall’s standout performance the consolation for Rosskopf’s team

JOHOR BAHRU, 12 July 2017 – Jiang Jialiang’s right call at the opening coin-toss kicked off Round 2 of the T2 Asia Pacific Table Tennis League (T2APAC) as his Team JJ would go on to record a comfortable 16-12 win over Jorg Rosskopf’s Team Rossi.

Both teams would feature teenage debutants, with 16-year-old Sun Yingsha replacing Wu Yang in Team JJ while 17-year-old Wang Chuqin came in for Shang Kun in Team Rossi.

In accordance with competition rules, players who met in Round 1 would not play each other this round. However, this did not in any way diminished the quality of action as both teams produced matches of scintillating quality.

Match 1: Matilda Ekholm (SWE) vs Elizabeta Samara (ROM)
When the dust settled, Ekholm would ponder if this was the one that got away when she could have recorded a bigger win for her team. But the Swede was certainly good for the US$1,000 match win bonus after taking the first three games 11-8, 11-10, 11-9. That’s after Samara had thrown away a 10-5 lead in the second game. The Romanian would storm back to win the fourth game 11-4 and rode the momentum to run away with the Kill Zone game 5-1.
Said Ekholm: “I didn’t take advantage of the fact that I played really well in the first sets, when she didn’t play so good. I should have just kept going. She started playing better, so what can I say? It was an OK match.”

Match 2: Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) vs Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER)
Fresh from winning the Australian Open at the Gold Coast, world number 12 Samsonov took the fight to his higher-ranked opponent – Ovtcharov is world number four – and came away a 3-2 winner. It could well have been a 4-1 win had he been able to close out the Kill Zone game when on match point, instead of losing that game 4-5. After both players traded the first two sets 11-10, 9-11, it was Samsonov who seized control to win the next two 11-7, 11-5. But the beauty of the T2APAC format meant there is always a chance to get back in, with Ovtcharov pulling one back more for this team than for himself. Said Samsonov: “I know Dima very well, and we played each other many times, as well as for the same team. I didn’t expect to beat him today, so I’m very pleased to have done that and to give three points to my team. I’m also very satisfied with my performance.”

Match 3: Sun Yingsha (CHN) vs Georgina Pota (HUN)
Sun may have dropped the opening game of her T2APAC debut 9-11 to Pota but the 16-year-old would celebrate a stirring 4-1 overall win over her Hungarian opponent in a highly competitive encounter. Sun fought back to win the second game 11-9 and had to come back from 6-9 behind to win this game, also 11-9. But that was when Pota looked as though she had run out of ideas, as her world number 10 opponent stormed to an 11-4 win in the fourth before wrapping up the Kill Zone game 5-2. Said Sun: “It’s my first appearance here and it took me a while to get used to things here, and Pota played really well at the start, and took me by surprise. After that first game, I just stayed focused on finding my rhythm, and reducing my mistakes. The T2APAC format is interesting and I enjoy it very much.”

Match 4: Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE) vs Paul Drinkhall (ENG)
Since Round 1, Drinkhall (world no 48) has shown he’s fully capable of taking the fight to the top players, and so it proved against world no 13 Chuang. Leading 7-4 and later 9-7 in the opening game, Drinkhall would see Chuang fighting back to reach game point first. Despite that, the Englishman found the extra belief to grab the next two points and victory. He repeated that fightback in game three, and recorded a comfortable 11-8 win in game two. Now 3-0 up, Drinkhall rode the momentum in the fourth game, going 7-1 in front before Chuang closed the gap, and he managed to just keep his nose in front when the buzzer went, winning 8-7 for an overall 4-0 victory. A great result for Drinkhall who made the semi-finals of the Australian Open before coming to Malaysia for Round 2 of T2APAC.  
Said Drinkhall: “I felt great coming into the match, and my style matches his quite well. Everything went well today, and coming back from the Australian Open where I did quite well, it’s been good I’ve been able to keep that form today.”

Match 5: Jeon Ji-hee (KOR) vs Cheng I-Ching (TPE)
Having not enjoyed much luck in Round 1, Jeon was determined to show she belonged in this competition, and this 2-2 result was an uplifting one for the Korean. But the 24-year-old still needed to come back from two games down (5-11, 10-11) before a stirring 11-8 win heading into the final game. Trailing 1-3 with the clock running down, Jeon fought back to tie the score at 3-3 to force the sudden death tie-break, which she won to take the fourth game 4-3 Said Jeon: “I’ve to thank my team-mate Yingsha for her advice near the end of the match. I was very nervous but she told me I still have the chance to win, and her words calmed me down.”
Match 6: Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) vs Wang Chuqin (CHN)
Team Fixture 7 wrapped up with a battle of the teens, with two players setting up a rivalry that could be the hallmark of table tennis in the coming decades. This time around, it was the 14-year-old Harimoto that prevailed over his 17-year-old opponent Wang 4-1. Not that Wang was not competitive, as he won the second game 11-4 having been edged 10-11 in the opener. But the Chinese T2APAC debutant would rue his inconsistencies as the dropped games two and three 11-10, 11-5 before also dropping the Kill Zone game 5-4, despite reaching match point first.  


Team Captains’ quotes:

Jiang Jialiang: “I think everyone played well but it was a bit of a surprise that we drew a blank from Chuang Chih-Yuan’s match against Paul Drinkhall, especially when they both look evenly matched. It was heartening that Jihee and Matilda added to our scoreboard.”

Jorg Rosskopf: “We had the chance to win this tie, but we keep losing the close games. I’m really happy to see Paul playing with so much confidence, we will need that to rub off on all our players so that we can come back strong for the rest of this round.”

Quote of the day:
“We have older players in our team, and younger players too. So it was up to the ones in the middle to deliver today.” – Team JJ captain Jiang Jialiang

Round 2
Match Day 1

Team Fixture 7: Team JJ vs Team Rossi

Jul 3, 2017

adidas Football Reveals Manchester United Home Kit for the 2017/18 Season

 Latest home kit features new button-up collar design
Jersey to be worn on pitch for the first time during the club’s pre-season tour

adidas Football has today revealed the Manchester United home kit for the 2017/18 season. Celebrating the club’s third year with adidas, the new home kit will be worn by the likes of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera. 

The latest home jersey features a minimalist, sophisticated design which pays homage to some of the classic kits from the past, at the same time as being at the forefront of technical sportswear design with technical, breathable fabrics and mesh engineering.

 The kit features: an all-new button-up collar offering an elegant and contemporary design; the adidas three stripes in white on the shoulders; and red, white and black sleeves to represent the colours of the match-day flags seen at United.

The home jersey is available from July 7 in adidas and official club stores, and will be worn on pitch for the first time during the club’s pre-season tour, when United take on LA Galaxy on 15th July 2017.

Both the replica jersey and the authentic jersey, as worn by the players, will be available for purchase. There is also a long-sleeved iteration on sale, as well as shirts designed specifically for both women and children.

For further information please visit adidas.com/football or follow @adidasfootball on instagram or twitter to join the conversation.