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LIU Shiwen (CHN), representing Asia
Photo Courtesy of Butterfly.tt
Courtesy of Butterfly.tt
Women´s World Cup in Huangshi
Eight Butterfly players in total will be competing in the Women´s World Cup, which takes place from Friday to Sunday in Huangshi. An impressive sum of 150,000 dollars will be at stake throughout the three-day tournament, the winner alone taking home a check for 45,000 dollars. Once again, it is a Butterfly sponsored player, the 2009 World Cup winner Liu Shiwen, who is deemed favorite to win the title.
China´s Olympic Champion Li Xiaoxia doesn’t feature in the tournament line up and neither does World and defending Champion Ding Ning. Nevertheless, China´s representatives are still expected to secure the top places in customary style. Favorite to clinch the title is Butterfly´s number one female representative, Liu Shiwen, who, not having been nominated for the Olympic Games, wants to seize the opportunity to play her way back into the limelight. The 21-year-old´s major rival is her compatriot Guo Yue, the 2007 World Champion, who, having gained the confidence of China´s Head Coach, has been nominated ahead of Liu at recent World Championships and Olympic Games. Incidentally, Liu Shiwen is the only competitor among the 19 athletes to have previously won the World Cup.
The number of players who in theory have the potential to challenge the domination of the Chinese is unfortunately somewhat limited. The most likely non-Chinese medal hopefuls are without a doubt Feng Tianwei (Singapore) along with the two “Butterflies” from Hong Kong, Tie Yana and Jiang Huajun. At least in terms of numbers, Europe´s top players have a strong presence at the tournament with a total of eight players taking part. Among those hoping to reach the quarterfinal stages are the former European Champions from 2011 (Lia Jiao/Netherlands), 2010 (Viktoria Pavlovich/Belarus) and 2009 (Wu Jiaduo/Germany). Furthermore, Spain´s Shen Yanfei has proved on more than one occasion on the World Tour that she is capable of causing an upset against her Asian opponents. Nevertheless, the battle for quarterfinal places will be intense. After all, star players such as Dang Yeseo (South Korea), Yu Mengyu (Singapore), Elizabeta Samara, Daniela Dodean (both Romania) and Matilda Ekholm (Sweden), who has been awarded a wild card, will also be in contention.
The tournament consists of two stages, starting out with four preliminary round groups, each comprising four players. The first and second placed competitors will qualify for the knock out stage, beginning with quarterfinals on Saturday. Prior to the preliminary round the Intercontinental Cup will be staged, in which the four representatives from Africa, Latin America, North America and Oceania will compete to determine the 16th competitor for the main round of the World Cup.
The competitors in Huangshi
(Players sponsored by Butterfly are bold)
LIU Shiwen (CHN), representing Asia
LI Jiao (NED), representing Europe
HSING Ariel (USA), representing North America
LI Chunli (NZL), representing Oceania
KUMAHARA Caroline (BRA), representing Latin America
EDEM Offiong (NGR), representing Africa
EKHOLM Matilda (SWE), ITTF wild card
FENG Tianwei (SIN), qualified through world rankings
GUO Yue (CHN), qualified through world rankings
TIE Yana (HKG), qualified through world rankings
WU Jiaduo (GER), qualified through world rankings
SHEN Yanfei (ESP), qualified through world rankings
PAVLOVICH Viktoria (BLR), qualified through world rankings
DANG Yeseo (KOR), qualified through world rankings
JIANG Huajun (HKG), qualified through world rankings
YU Mengyu (SIN), qualified through world rankings
SAMARA Elizabeta (ROU), qualified through world rankings
DODEAN Daniela (ROU), qualified through world rankings
LIU Jia (AUT), qualified through world rankings