China’s Wang Chuqin, who is serving a three month suspension meted out by his national federation, is among the three players shortlisted by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for the Breakthrough Star Award.
Chuqin, the reigning Youth Olympic champion, was suspended after he slammed his racket against the table after losing to teammate Zhao Zhiohao during the Austrian Open earlier this month.
The 19-year-old would miss the World Tour Finals next month because of the suspension. However, winning the award to be handed out later this year, may turn out to be consolation for missing out the Finals.
Chuqin won his first World Tour career title by winning the men’s singles at the Swedish Open earlier this year. Together with veteran Ma Long, he was also the winner of the men’s doubles at the World Championships.
His progress in the international arena has been dramatic, rising from 83 in the world rankings to 15 within a year.
The players standing in his way to the award are American Lily Zhang and Lin Yun Ju of Chinese Taipei.
Lily was the first American player to reach the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup and won four titles – singles, doubles, mixed doubles and team – at the Pan American Championships. She has risen to number 33 in the world rankings from 95 at the beginning of the year.
As for Yun-ju, he is the youngest ever Chinese Taipei player to win a World Tour title, the Czech Open. Although he is just 17, Yun-ju is already his country’s top ranked player.
Since January 2018 Lin’s rise up the world rankings ladder has been nothing short of spectacular, moving up 118 positions to no.16 as of July 2019!
At the T2 Diamond Malaysia in August he defied all the odds to lift the men’s singles trophy defeating world number one Fan Zhendong of China in the final.
Two European paddlers have been nominated for the Male Para Table Tennis Star award. European Class 1 champion Rob Davies and Lignano Open winner, has been nominated for his successes.
Class 3 European champion Thomas Schmidberger will be the favourite for the award. The current world number one ranked player also helped German to the European team title as well as winning several other titles including Lignano Open, Polish Open and the Egypt Open.
Asian Para singles champion Yan Shuo is the third nominee for the award, having also finished as the Class 7 runner-up at the Slovenia Open.
In the female Para category, top ranked Italian Giada Rossi is favoured to walk away with the award. The reigning European Para Singles Class 2 champion, was also a winner at the Lignano and Czech Opens.
Pan American champion (Class 5) Tamara Leonelli of Chile and Asian Para singles (Class 7) and team champion Wang Rui of China are the other nominees.
The Star coach award nominees are Li Sun of China, Jorg Rosskopf of Germany and Bladimir Diaz of Puerto Rico.
Li Sun coached China’s Women’s Team to multiple titles in 2019 – eleven World Tour titles, Women’s World Cup, Team World Cup, World Table Tennis Championships, Asian Championships and Asian Cup.
Rosskopf is honoured for his role in steering the German’s to the European Championship title without losing a single match. He has also helped coach seven German players into the world the top 100 ranking, most outside of any Asian country.
As for Bladimir, he coached the Puerto Rican Women’s Team to victory at the 2019 Pan America Games. He also coached his daughter, Adriana Diaz, who went on to become Pan America Cup and Pan America Games Champion.