The confirmed players list for the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals have been released and there could yet be a place for England’s Darius Knight in the boys Under-21s.
With an incredible seven players dropping out for one reason or another Knight can now take a place as first reserve for the event in three weeks time. Although we don’t wish injury or illness upon anyone, the prospect of Knight qualifying for the event at ExCeL, London is a tantalising one.
Both the men’s and women’s events have seen no players drop out with all the top 15 ITTF Pro Tour ranked seniors taking up their place alongside the English selections of Paul Drinkhall and Joanna Parker.
In the doubles’ competitions there is only one change to the qualifying list with third seeds Kenta Matsudaira and Koki Niwa from Japan pulling out to allow Chuang Chih-Yuan and Wu Chih-Chi from Chinese Taipei to take their place from first reserve.
The big shake-up as mentioned earlier comes in the Under-21s competitions.
The seven male players to drop out are: Seo Hyun Deok (KOR, seeded second), Koki Niwa (JPN, 3), Jung Young Sik (KOR, 7), Jin Ueda (JPN, 8), Jeong Sang Eun (KOR, 1st reserve), Patrick Franziska (GER, 3rd reserve) and Li Ahmet (TUR, 5th reserve).
The female Under-21s is just as dramatic with both the top seeds from Korea dropping out leaving the competition wide open. Yang Ha Eun played 11 ITTF Pro Tour events racking up a massive 12,725 points (almost 5,000 ahead of second placed Kang Mi Soon) but she will not playing in the Under-21s.
Her compatriot and second best ranked player Kang Mi Soon is also not attending while sixth seed, another Korean; Song Ma Eum will also not travel.
In their place come the top three reserve players who all took up their allocation; Margaryta Pesotska (UKR), NG Wing Nam (HKG) and Saki Tashiro (JPN).
The full list of confirmed attendees can be found here at the ETTA’s London 2012 site that profiles both the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals and the Olympics next year.