The International Table Tennis Federation has published the list of players who are invited to the 2012 World Cup. The tournament will be held in the English city of Liverpool from 28th to 30th September. Zhang Jike is at the top of the list of players invited to the competition. The Chinese player is the World Cup's title holder, the world champion and Olympic champion, so everybody expects to see him in England.
Timo Boll is also invited to Liverpool as the European champion. Boll crowned European champion in Poland last year as he overcame his team mate Patrick Baum in the final. The German player is the biggest threat to Zhang Jike after he defeated him in semifinals of the team event in London. Xu Xin will represent Asia as the continental champion. We will see if the young player will be able to challenge Zhang Jike.
Asian players such as Jun Mizutani, Chuang Chih-Yuan, Joo Saehyuk, Oh Sangeun, Gao Ning, Jiang Tianyi and Koki Niwa also received an invitation due to their world ranking. European players invited are Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Vladimir Samsonov. Samsonov is another big threat to Zhang Jike because he was close to beat him in the round of 16 at the Olympic Games. Paul Drinkhall will participate as a host nation representative.
ITTF also awarded wild cards to Michael Maze and Liam Pitchford. Reserve players are Romania's Adrian Crisan and Portugal's Marcos Freitas.
Besides, the winner of the Intercontinental Cup will have the chance to compete in the World Cup. Brazil's Gustavo Tsuboi won the last edition but he won't be able to defend the title because the Latin American representative is his team mate Thiago Monteiro this year. Australia's William Henzell is the Oceanian representative and is the favorite for the title after his performance in London. Ahmed Saleh from Egypt will represent Africa, while Pierre-Luc Theriault from Canada is the North American representative.
Wang Hao and Ma Long weren't invited to the tournament because no more than two players of a country can compete in the World Cup.
Now players must confirm their participation for Liverpool.
Photo and info. source: ebeijing.gov.cn - ittf.com