World number two Ma Long and three-time World champion Wang Liqin will be at Lucknow to continue China’s domination in the 19th Asian table tennis championship that begins from November 16.
Among the ladies, too, Chinese world number two Guo Yue heads the nation’s title defence in the company of the last edition’s singles finalist Li Xiaoxia and Liu Shiwen, placed third and fourth in global rankings.
The championship returns to India for third time since its inception in 1972.In 1980, Kolkata was the venue and in 1992, the national capital played the host. .
The continental championship which traditionally attracts some of the finest exponents of the game, will miss the world top-ranked players and defending singles champions Wang Hao and Zhang Yining but their absence in no way diminishes the strength of the Chinese brigade determined to underscore its supremacy.
Ma Long, singles finalist in 2007, along with the former world number one Wang Liqin are the only two from the world’s top-10 list in the men’s section while the ladies field has eight players from the top-11 bracket.
Announcing the arrangements made for the prestigious event, the organisers said, 92 men and 99 players from 22 nations have confirmed participation. India, being the host, will be able to field eight players in each section.
In the last edition of the championship in 2007 at Yangzhou, China, the Chinese men beat Japan in the final while the Chinese ladies overpowered Singapore for the title. The Indian men had finished eighth while the women were placed 10th.
Leading players for Asian meet (with world rankings): Men: 1. Ma Long (Chn, 2), 2. Wang Liqin (Chn, 5), 3. Jun Mizutani (Jpn, 12), 4. Cheung Yuk (Hkg, 15), 5. Chuang Clin-Yuan (Tpe, 17), 6. Zhang Jike (Chn, 19), 7. Li Ching (Hkg, 20), Jiang Tianyi (Hkg, 22).
Women: 1. Guo Yue (Chn, 2), 2. Li Xiaoxia (Chn, 3), 3. Liu Shiwen (Chn, 4), 4. Feng Tianwei (Sin, 7), 5. Kim Kyung Ah (Kor, 8), 6. Ding Ning (Chn, 9), 7. Jiang Jua Jun (Hkg, 10), 8. Wang Yue Gu (Sin, 11).