14 year old Kanak JHA is set to make history tomorrow at the LIEBHERR 2014 Men’s World Cup, where he will be the youngest ever player to compete at the prestigious event.
JHA, who qualified for the event by being crowned the North American Cup Champion earlier this year, will get the opportunity to test himself against the other 19 of the world’s best players here in Dusseldorf, Germany.
An excited, but nervous JHA stated: “It is a big honor for me playing in this competition especially playing against some of the world class players, which I believe I will gain some experience from. I am hoping to advance to the knockout stage, I know it is going to be difficult but I must play well to fulfill my dream. I am going to be a bit nervous against some of these top players but I must also be strong to play against them.”
Tomorrow, JHA will start his quest to qualify for the knockout stage in his group against CHEN Chien-An (TPE) and Adrian CRISAN (ROU), where he must finish in the top two in order to progress.
JHA is still that young that he will leave on Monday to go play in the ITTF World Cadet Challenge (15 and under) in Barbados!
Like JHA, 18 of the players competing here had to qualify for the prestigious ITTF World Cup through their respective Continental Cups, which means only the best of the best can compete.
The only two other players to receive the golden ticket to play in the 2014 ITTF Men’s World Cup are the current World Champion ZHANG Jike (CHN), and the lucky player GIONIS Panagiotis (GRE) who received a wildcard into the event.
Despite playing in his first ever event with the new plastic ball, the World and Olympic Champion ZHANG Jike (CHN) who won the World Cup title in 2009, was in a confident mood when he arrived in Germany: “I believe that although players from other countries have adapted with the new ball ahead of us, I am confident that me and MA Long’s overall strength are still above the others. Winning the World Cup should not be a problem.”
Kicking off the event are seeds nine to 20 playing round robin in four groups of three players (two matches each). The top two players from each group progresses to the second round of the competition. This first round draw can be found here: http://bit.ly/1pEver2.
The second round, which starts on Saturday, is a straight knockout with the eight players that progressed from the first round facing off against the top eight seeded players. The players play the round-of-16 and quarterfinals on Saturday, with the semifinals and final on Sunday.