Paris. Relief all round. Following last week´s withdrawal from the World Team Cup, Germany´s superstar Timo Boll is now able to compete in the Men´s World Cup in Paris, worth 150.000 dollars in prize money, after all. Boll´s acute irritation to the lumbar spine region has healed up significantly. “Following intensive rehabilitation measures, several training sessions at the table and thorough examinations, Dr. Peil has given me the all clear to compete in Paris. I am now looking forward to facing the Chinese once again for what will be the first time since my long stay in China in the summer”, announced Boll with a sense of relief. The World Championships bronze medallist from Rotterdam will be challenging another “Super-Butterfly”, World Champion Zhang Jike (China), who along with his compatriot Wang Hao is favoured to win the title.
However, apart from Boll and Zhang there are eight other Butterflies qualified for the main round, including South Korea´s Joo Se Hyuk and Oh Sang Eun as well as the Japanese Jun Mizutani and debutant Seiya Kishikawa, who are all serious medal prospects. The Butterfly contingent is completed by Taiwans´ old hand Chuan Chih-Yuan, Russia's Alexey Smirnov as well as France´s musketeers Adrien Mattenet and Christophe Legout.
The world number four, Timo Boll, will be travelling to France´s capital as the 2002 and 2005 World Cup Champion, Zhang Jike, competing last year in his first ever World Cup, was defeated in the final by Wang Hao. For Europe´s number one the World Cup is one of the most important events of the year: “The tournament is of great significance”, announced the 15 times European Champion. “At the World Cup you face world class players from the first round onwards. You therefore can´t afford a phase of weakness.” Boll intends to approach the World Cup step by step:”To begin with you have to clinch first or second place in the group. If you manage to qualify for the quarter-finals then almost anything is possible.”
A total of 19 players were invited to the World Cup. Proceedings will begin on Friday with the Intercontinental Cup, in which the 16th competitor for the main round will be determined. The matches for this kick off on Friday afternoon. The knock out competition will commence on Saturday evening with the quarter-finals, for which the first and second placed competitors in each of the four preliminary round groups will qualify.
All contestants at a glance
Main draw (Butterfly players highlighted)
1 Wang Hao, China, defending champion from Magdeburg 2010, world ranking position (WR) 2
2 Zhang Jike, China, World Champion 2011, WR 3
3 Timo Boll, Germany, European Champion, WR 4
4 Jun Mizutani, Japan, WR 7
5 Vladimir Samsonov, Belarus, WR 9
6 Joo Se Hyuk, South Korea, WR 10
7 Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Germany, WR 12
8 Oh Sang Eun, South Korea, WR 13
9 Chuan Chih-Yuan, Taiwan, WR 14
10 Seiya Kishikawa, Japan, WR 17
11 Tang Peng, Hong Kong, ITTF wild card 1, WR 22
12 Alexey Smirnov, Russia, WR 23
13 Adrien Mattenet, France, ITTF wild card 2, WR 24
14 Ko Lai Chak, Hong Kong, representing Asia, WR 51
15 Christophe Legout, France, representing the host nation, WR 98
16 Winner of the IC-Cups (Intercontinental Cup) 2011
Gustavo Tsuboi, Brasil, representing South America WR 107
Ahmed Ali Saleh, Egypt, representing Africa, WR 127
William Henzell, Australia, representing Oceania, WR 146
Pradeeban Peter-Paul, Canada, representing North America, WR 325
The winner of the IC-Cup completes the main draw of 16 competitors.