Chengdu Preview Japans Strong Line Up Ready to Leave an ImpressionWritten by I Dig Sports
2023 has been an extraordinary year for Hina Hayata who peaked at 4th position in the world rankings at the end of October. Coming off a remarkable run at the 19th Asian Games, securing a silver medal in both the womens singles and doubles, Hayata has also claimed multiple gold medals in womens singles, doubles and mixed doubles in the WTT Contender series this year.
Joining her in Team Japan includes a strong lineup of experienced players, including the brother-sister pair of Tomokazu and Miwa Harimoto. Japan will definitely be looking to make a mark in Chengdu and putting up a strong challenge to the first and second seeds of the tournament.
TEAM JAPAN (#3 seed)
Hina HAYATA (World No. 5)
At only 23 years of age, Hina Hayata has already achieved multiple eye-catching victories on the world stage. She is the most successful player in the history of the Challenge Series with six titles and has three womens singles titles in the WTT contender series this season. Earlier this year, she secured a full house of titles, taking gold in the womens singles, womens doubles and mixed doubles at the Japan Table Tennis Championships.
Miwa HARIMOTO (World No. 14)
Only 15 years old, Miwa Harimoto is the youngest player in the Japan team. The younger sister of Tomokazu Harimoto, she is noted as one of the best emerging talents in the younger generation and is already making a strong impression in the senior stage, defeating much more experienced players at multiple events. Harimoto recently won the Zen-Noh Cup Osaka in late November and defeated top seed Hina Hayata.
Miu HIRANO (World No. 17)
Miu Hirano, known for her whirlwind rallies and feisty forehands, has made a strong impact on the world stage and is a consistent appearance in the Japan Womens team. Hirano is first non-chinese player and the youngest ever winner of the Womens World Cup where she claimed gold in 2016. She also holds the record for the youngest winner of the womens singles at the Asian Table Tennis Championships where she won in 2017. Added to the tally of victories includes her win in the womens singles at WTT Contender Zagreb 2023 and in the womens doubles at WTT Contender Almaty 2022.
Miyuu KIHARA (World No.23)
Hailed as one of the rising stars from Japan, Miyuu Kihara has made a strong mark on the international circuit. Crowned womens singles and womens doubles champion at the 2019 Challenge Croatia Open at just 14 years, making her the youngest ever to win an international open tournament. A strong doubles player, winning the womens doubles title at the World Tour Grand Finals in 2019 and pairing with Miwa Harimoto to take out top seeds Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu in the quarterfinals at the 19th Asian Games.
Tomokazu HARIMOTO (World No. 11)
Tomokazu Harimoto shocked the world as a junior, becoming the youngest ever World Tour winner at the age of 14, at the 2017 Czech Open, and the youngest World Tour Grand Finals champion aged 15. Harimoto continues to impress on the international stage, winning the mens singles at the 2022 Asian Cup and the WTT Champions European Summer Series 2022.
Shunsuke TOGAMI (World No. 24)
Aggressive and quick round the table, Shunsuke Togami is a proficient singles and doubles player. Currently ranked world no. 3 in the mens doubles, Togami has secured multiple gold medals in the mens doubles event in the WTT Feeder and WTT Contender series. He also holds the title of the mens singles of the Japan Table Tennis Championships in both 2023 and 2022.
Ryoichi YOSHIYAMA (World No. 143)
19-year-old, Ryoichi Yoshiyama showcased his prowess as a finalist of the WTT Youth Contender Helsingborg 2022 and reached the quarterfinals of the WTT Contender Lima 2022. He aims to realise his full potential on the big stage in Chengdu.
Kakeru SONE (World No. 279)
20-year-old, Kakeru Sone displayed his expertise, reaching quarterfinals at the WTT Feeder Bangkok 2023.