Table Tennis News & Videos
Zhang Jike the winner in 2011 in Paris
Photo By: Vincent Kovacs
Courtesy of ITTF
Zhang Jike, the man of the moment, is top of the invitation list for the LIEBHERR Men's World Cup to be staged in Liverpool's Echo Arena from Friday to Sunday September 28 � 30, 2012.
The defending champion, the 24 year old from Qingdao in Shandong Province, is each day writing his name into the history books.
Clinching two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games meant that he became the first reigning World Men's Singles World champion ever to secure the top prize in the same event at an Olympic Games. Furthermore, he is the only man ever hold all major global titles at the same time � Olympic champion, World champion, World Cup winner.
Make It Five
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He was a vital member of China's successful team at the LIERBHERR World Team Championships in Moscow in 2010 and again in 2012; whilst also in 2010 he secured gold at the World Team Classic in Dubai.
China retained the title in 2011 in Magdeburg but without the help of Zhang Jike.
So does he hold five global titles and can he be beaten?
Timo Boll Prove a Point
The answer is no-one is infallible as Germany's Timo Boll proved in the Men's Team event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Ironically at the London Olympic Games the only Chinese player to lose a singles match was Zhang Jike!
Timo Boll is a distinct candidate for honors in Liverpool and like Zhang Jike he has experienced the thrill of winning the event.
He won in 2002 in the Chinese city of Jinan and three years later in the Belgian city of Li�ge.
Zhang Jike and Timo Boll are two of three players on the invitation list who are previous winners of the event; the other is Vladimir Samsonov.
He won in 1999 in Xiaolin, two years later in Courmayeur and most recently in 2009 in Moscow.
Otherwise, there are no other previous winners on the invitation slips but there is one name in particular, who could write his name on the Men's World Cup Roll of Honor, for the first time.
China's Xu Xin, making his debut in the event, is the name to note; the tall penhold grip left hander, with the long raking forehand, is most certainly a candidate for honors and surely we will see him in action in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro?
The Chinese Men's Team for 2016: Zhang Jike, Ma Long, Xu Xin.
Even stronger than in 2012 with Xu Xin being left handed and able to partner either Ma Long or Zhang Jike in the team event doubles! In 2012 the whole team was right handed and there was no really obvious doubles paring; still they did reasonably well!
Fine Form on Tour
Furthermore, Xu Xin has been in fine form in 2012, he stands in second place on the GAC GROUP 2012 World Tour Standings, having won the Men's Singles title in both Doha and Shanghai.
Play takes place in three stages.
The players who represent Africa, Latin America, North America and Oceania compete in the first stage, the Intercontinental Cup; proceedings being organized on a group basis. The winner qualifies for the second stage which sees a total of 16 players competing in four groups with four players in each group.
Next is Stage Three with the players finishing in first and second places in each group competing in the quarterfinals. Play proceeds on a knock-out basis with a play-off match being held to determine third place.
The total prize fund is US$150,000 with the winner pocketing US$45,000 and the runner up US$25,000; third place receives US$15,000, fourth place US$10,000 with the quarter-finalists each securing US$6,000.
Players finishing in third place in each of the four groups each gain US4000, with fourth place being allocated US$2,000 per player.
Meanwhile, the winner of the Intercontinental Cup is awarded US$2,5000, the runner up US$2,000, with third place leaving Liverpool US$4,000 better off and fourth spot US$1,000 to the good.
- Invitations have been sent as follows:
- World Cup Holder and World Champion: Zhang Jike (China)
- European Representative: Timo Boll (Germany)
- Asian Representative: Xu Xin (China)
- Latin American Representative: Thiago Monteiro (Brazil)
- African Representative: Ahmed Saleh (Egypt)
- Oceania Representative: William Henzell (Australia)
- North American Representative: Pierre-Luc Theriault (Canada)
- Host Nation Representative: Paul Drinkhall (England)
- World Ranking: Jun Mizutani (Japan), Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany), Joo Se Hyuk (Korea), Oh Sang Eun (Korea), Gao Ning (Singapore), Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus), Jiang Tianyi (Hong Kong), Koki Niwa (Japan)
- ITTF Wild Card: Michael Maze (Denmark)
- ITTF Wild Card: Liam Pitchford (England)
- Reserve No.1: Adrian Crisan (Romania)
- Reserve No.2: Marcos Freitas (Portugal)
LIEBHERR Men's World Cup: Prospectus