Liu Guoliang (left), then vice-president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) and former head coach of China's national table tennis team, is seen at the 2018 ITTF Women's World Cup in Chengdu of Southwest China Sept 29, 2018. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
ZHENGZHOU, China - Chinese table tennis players face huge challenges from Japanese players, the president of the Chinese Table Tennis association Liu Guoliang said on Friday in China's Henan province.
"We always face different kinds of challenges in every Olympic cycle, because the world is developing. However, these Japanese players are so young and they will play in their home in 2020, so there are so many unexpected difficulties in front of us," the 42-year-old president said.
China's Lin Gaoyuan hits a return in the men's singles table tennis final match against Japan's Tomokazu Harimoto at the 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Incheon on Dec 16, 2018. (JUNG YEON-JE / AFP)
15-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto from Japan beat China's Lin Gaoyuan 4-1 to win the men's singles championship last Sunday at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. Mima Ito and Hina Hayata smashed the Chinese pair of Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha 3-0 to win the women's doubles title. Chen Meng retained her women's singles crown to become the only Chinese player to emerge victorious at the event.
Tomokazu Harimoto, the youngest ever men's singles champion at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, is highly regarded ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Japanese Tomokazu Harimoto plays against Chinese Xu Xin during the WTTC World Table Tennis Championships men's single in Duesseldorf, western Germany on June 4, 2017. (PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP)
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