China’s MA Long has capped a year to remember by becoming the year end world number one for a fifth time, which equals his compatriot WANG Liqin’s record.
The 28-year-old who finished 2016 as world number one also earned his 53rd month as world number one, just two months’ shy of WANG Liqin’s remarkable 55 months as the king of table tennis.
This is an extraordinary run as the Rio 2016 Olympic champion is now top of the world for a consecutive 23 months, two months away from the 25 months record set by WANG.
“2016 has been a very memorable and rewarding year for me, so I’m thankful to all who have helped me this year, and to myself. Thanks also to everyone in the table tennis family who has worked hard to contribute to the sport. I will continue to work hard in the new year” stated the best table tennis player on earth.
2016 Men’s World Cup champion 19-year-old FAN Zhendong (CHN) finished the year second in the rankings, ahead of his team mates XU Xin and ZHANG Jike, who are third and fourth respectively. Rio 2016 bronze medalist Jun MIZUTANI (JPN) finished the year in the fifth position, with Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER) trailing closely behind.
Fellow Olympic Champion DING Ning (CHN) topped the women’s end of year ranking for a fourth time, just one year short from the women’s record by her idol ZHANG Yining.
DING, who had another dominant year, finished ahead of team mates LIU Shiwen and ZHU Yuling, as well as Japan’s Kasumi ISHIKAWA and Singapore’s FENG Tianwei.
16-year-old Japanese sensations Mima ITO & Women’s World Cup Champion Miu HIRANO who claimed the team title at the 2016 World Junior Championships, capped off a dream year by finishing the year at eight and nine respectively to show that the new generation is now here.
After enjoying a festive break, the world’s best table tennis players will return to action at the 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open on 19 January 2017 in Budapest.