World TT Championships attract record entry

Paris, May 13 (IANS) The 52nd edition of the world’s premier table tennis event will be held in Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy May 13-20 with a record 463 men and 360 women participating.

The players are from 130 countries and regions competing for the five gold medals on offer – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, reports Xinhua.

International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) president Adham Sharara said, “We are back in Paris 10 years after the great success of the World Championships in 2003. We are in the same venue again, a nostalgic feeling for sure, but a big change. This year we will see an all-time record in the number of participants. It would seem that our member associations have a great appetite for World Championships.”

The Chinese have named a full-strength team with 23 players and are looking to defend the clean sweep of titles they made at the 2011 worlds in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

“I am not really concerned of being the top seed. The world ranking is just about placements, it is not enough to give you good results. So I still adopt a lower profile and have a positive attitude to fight”, said World No.1 Xu Xin of China.

Germany’s Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov head the challenge to Chinese supremacy.

In the women’s side, World No.1 Ding Ning will seek to gain revenge for the disappointment of losing to Chinese teammate Li Xiaoxia in last year’s Olympic final. Li is the third seed in Paris behind another teammate Liu Shiwen.

Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive, 43, will be playing in a record 22nd consecutive World Championships, a voyage that started in 1988 and shows no signs of stopping.

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