Table Tennis News & Videos
Courtesy of Butterfly.tt
An excellent World Team Championships are now over. On finals weekend more than 22,000 spectators visited the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund and seven Asian nations as well as hosts Germany came away with medals. As expected the team from table tennis world power China stood on the top step of the podium and went home with gold. However, for World Championships table sponsor Butterfly, who presented their eye-catching show model "The Earth" on centre court, the fantastic days in Dortmund were worth their weight in gold: With Zhang Jike and Liu Shiwen they have two sponsored players in the line-ups of the new World Champions, with the German men´s national team (silver) and South Korea (two bronze medals) two exclusively Butterfly teams were also successful, in addition Japan´s men (bronze) and in the women´s event Singapore (silver) as well as third placed Hong Kong all had "Butterflies" in their line-ups.
In a repeat of the women’s final in Moscow, China´s team, including the World Number Two Liu Shiwen, gained revenge for their defeat in the final two years ago in sheer impressive style. They left Singapore, featuring the two Butterfly players Sun Beibei and Yu Mengyu in their line-up, no chance whatsoever. Just like in the women´s event, the long-awaited dual between hosts Germany and the serial winners China ended with a 3:0 victory for the favorites from the Middle Kingdom. In Dortmund China once again defended themselves against the attacks made by their challengers and after the match Timo Boll pointed out the strengths of the new World Champions: "They are better than us in everything they do, above all from an athletic point of view. I think that is something we really have to work on, as that is the part that can be improved the easiest. Germany will not stop trying to challenge China. It is extremely difficult to overcome China because everything has to come together on the day, but it is not impossible. At the Olympic Games in London we will try our luck again."
The fact that the attack on the Great Wall failed in Dortmund was largely down to Zhang Jike. The World Individual Champion kept his nerve in the mayhem of the Westfalenhalle in which 11,000 spectators frenetically rooted for Germany, winning the extremely important opening match, the dual of the "Super Butterflies" with Timo Boll, in five hard fought games. The European Champion gave a brief insight into the emotions of both Butterfly players after the match:" We both knew how important this match was for the outcome of the final. Everyone could see that we were a little nervous to start with. In the first game I failed to take the lead, despite having the opportunity to do so and then I lost the second game really quickly. I was then faced with the almost impossible task of needing to win three consecutive games against such a great topspin player." Zhang Jike admitted in the concluding press conference: "I was impressed by the great atmosphere in the final. I have never experienced anything like that before and it really appealed to me. It motivated me even more."
Among the bronze medal winners were also a number of Butterfly players. The Butterfly team from South Korea reached the semi-final with both their women´s and their men´s teams. In the men´s event China´s stars proved to be too strong for defender Joo Se Hyuk, who failed to achieve his best form at these World Championships, Oh Sang Eun, former Olympic Champion Ryu Seung Min, who will soon be playing in Ochsenhausen, and Kim Min Seok. In the women’s event Singapore was the stumbling block, who had previously ended all hopes of the German butterfly team with Irene Ivancan in a dramatic quarter-final dual. Further bronze medalists were Japan who, in the men´s event with Jun Mizutani, Koki Niwa and Seiya Kishikawa in their line-up, had to bow down to hosts Germany 1:3 as well as Hong Kong in the women´s event with Tie Yana and Jiang Huajun, who at least took a game off World Champions China . Timo Boll had some words of praise for World Junior Champion Koki Niwa, following their first ever dual: "Normally I don´t look at videos, however, this time I made an exception and took a good look at him in preparation for the match. He is quite a whirlwind and a great talent. Today I managed to beat him but he has a great future ahead of him."
Overall the World Team Championships in Dortmund were a great success as anticipated. With 149 participating nations the hosts Germany can be pleased about a record entry. More than 55,000 visitors on eight days formed a breath-taking crowd and the Westfalenhalle was sold out on the last three days of competition, creating a spine-tingling atmosphere. Aside from the World Championships the World Association ITTF announced that the new plastic ball, which will be replacing celluloid, will not be introduced until July 2014 at the earliest.