Following a trials competition held on the last few days, the Chinese team will have Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Chuqin, for the men; and Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen, Zhu Yuling, Chen Meng and Wang Manyu, for the women, going to the 2018 World Team Championships.
The men’s trials started on 15 March. The competition among the 10 players was intense from day 1 of the competition. After 9 rounds of competition, Lin Gaoyuan topped the trials with 7 wins and 2 losses and Wang Chuqin trailed closely behind with 6 wins and 3 losses.
Lin Gaoyuan is probably the main beneficiary of the trials. The 23-year-old was the dark horse of the 2017 Chinese Trials, the Marvellous 12 in which he earned a chance to make his World Championships debut in Dusseldorf last year. This year he comes into the trials as one of the favourites and once again he earned himself the ticket to the 2018 World Championships.
History may not repeat but it rhymes. 12 years ago, 18-year-old Ma Long made his first World Championships in 2006. He is also the 2005 Chinese National Games men’s singles bronze medalist. Wang Chuqin aged 18 years old is the 2017 Chinese National Games men’s singles bronze medalist. Placing second at the trials, he has earned himself a ticket to the 2018 World Team Championships. The shakehand lefty is the only U21 player on the World team and has a bright future ahead.
The women had their trials on 16 and 17 March. The competition was about as exciting as could be expected among the 8 players. Chen Meng won over Wang Manyu in the last round and finished first, Wang Manyu came second.
Missing the Team World Cup lineup might be a disappointment to Chen Meng. Yet her action at the trials has told the world not to count her out. Winning the trials among China’s bright young stars and experienced veterans is not an easy task. Now with the ticket to the World Championships in her hand, she will show the world what she is capable of.
Wang Manyu at age 19, is a promising player to keep an eye on. Though it will be her first World Championships, she has been winning medals at international competitions. She won team gold with the team at 2018 Team World Cup in London this February and will be looking for more success in Halmstad.
The Chinese have a super strong team looking to defend their champion at 2018 World Team Championships. Like many other teams, the team is going to be anchored by experienced and celebrated players but they do add a few rising athletes into the mix which could develop great depth on the road to Tokyo.
Article by Eunice Chan