Top teams gather in Chengdu, the new competition system is more exciting, and the table tennis mixed team World Cup is coming.
[Xu Yunfeng,今日头条 special correspondent of Global Times] From December 4th to 10th, the first ITTF mixed team World Cup was held in Chengdu. On the afternoon of the 3rd, China, Hongkong, China, Sweden and Puerto Rico were drawn in Group A, while Japanese team was drawn in Group C with France, Romania, the United States and Australia. At the press conference before the competition, Liu Guoliang, First Vice-President of ITTF, Chairman of the Board of Directors of WTT World Table Tennis Federation and Chairman of China Table Tennis Association, said that the Chengdu Mixed Team World Cup had the most luxurious lineup and used the most exciting competition system to test the team's arrangement and strategic planning. "18 teams from five continents, everyone's dream is to win the glory trophy of the first mixed team World Cup in table tennis history."
The event was formerly known as the annual singles World Cup, and the men's and women's team events were held every other year, but it has been suspended since 2020. Olympic official website said, "Now, we will see a brand-new and exciting new competition system, in which the top men and women table tennis players in the world compete together." Among the 18 teams, China, German, Japanese and Korean are the top four seeds respectively, and Chengdu will host the event for five consecutive years (from 2023 to 2027).
In order to improve the weight and intensity of the event, the ITTF has previously announced that the Chengdu Mixed Team World Cup will give ITTF individual world ranking points-giving individual points in team events, which is a historic change. The ITTF will allocate points according to the individual contributions of team members, and the champion members will get a total of 1000 points in the world ranking.
Olympic official website rated Chengdu Mixed Team World Cup as "a special competition system that highlights gender equality". Compared with other events, the rules of the mixed team World Cup in Chengdu have changed greatly: each game adopts the 8-win system of 15 games-each game must play 3 games (3: 0 or 2: 1), and the team that wins 8 games in total will win the game. Each team can send 3-4 male players and 3-4 female players to play, first mixed doubles, then women's singles and men's singles. If necessary, the order of men's doubles and women's doubles will be decided by the captain of the lower ranked team before the game, adding suspense to the game.
The 18 teams are divided into two groups of 4 teams and two groups of 5 teams. The first stage of the game will be played in two days. The top two in each group advance to the second stage, which is also conducted in the form of round robin. It is worth mentioning that the results of the advanced teams in the first stage will be retained, and in the second stage, the team ranked first will win the World Cup.
At home, the China team sent the world's top four women's singles players-Sun Yingsha, Manyu Wang, Chen Meng and Wang Yidi. In the men's singles, Fan Zhendong, Wang Chuqin and Malone from the world's top four, and Lin Gaoyuan, who ranked seventh in the world, also participated. Olympic official website said that there is no doubt that the host team China will win the championship.
Germany is the No.2 seed in this tournament, but it didn't come up with the strongest lineup. Ochalov (ranked 12th in the men's singles world), Qiu Dang (ranked 13th in the men's singles world) and Han Ying (ranked 9th in the women's singles world) didn't come to Chengdu. Among the six contestants, the highest ranked player is Shan Xiaona, the women's singles player ranked 39th in the world.
The Japanese team sent all the main players to participate in the competition: for the male players, Zhang Benzhihe (ranked 11th in the world in men's singles) and Yukuke Inoguchi (ranked 24th in the world in men's singles) led the competition, while for the female players, Hayata Hina (ranked 5th in women's singles), Zhang Benmeihe (ranked 14th in women's singles), Hirano Miwoo (ranked 17th in women's singles) and Muhara Mie were sent. It is reported that Miho Zhang and Miyo Muhara chose to give up the World Youth Championship and come to Chengdu this time, which shows the importance they attach.
The Japanese team, which participated in the competition, is undoubtedly the strongest opponent of Guoping in the Chengdu Mixed Team World Cup, and the "China-Japan duel" will continue to the Paris Olympic Games next year. Japan's "Table Tennis Kingdom" said that Hayata Hina won the bronze medal in women's singles at the World Championships in Durban this year, the silver medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, and three WTT series championships. She has been designated as the representative of the Paris Olympic Games (women's team and women's singles) for Japanese table tennis, and she will aim to win the gold medal at the Paris Olympic Games in eight months.