Ever present, just not the same without him
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Ever present, just not the same without him

Ever present, just not the same without him

(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Ever present, just not the same without him
The very last place available, taking into account that there was one reserved for the host nation in the guise of Kirill Gerassimenko, the name to complete the invitation list for the Men’s Singles event at the forthcoming Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals which starts on Thursday 14th December in Astana, Kazakhstan, was that of Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Simply the tournament would not be the same without him.
In the Kazakhstan capital city he will be making no less than his 18th appearance in the prestigious annual tournament; no player male or female can compare.

Even Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus who played in the very first in 1996 in Tianjin and will be on duty in Astana cannot compare; he will be on duty for the 16th time. The only other male player in doubles figures in terms of appearances and on duty in Astana is Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov; it will be the 12th time that he has competed.

Furthermore, the list of appearances is continuous; since making his debut in 2000 in Australia, he has been ever present.

Moreover, he is one of only four players on duty in Astana, who have won the Men’s Singles title at the Grand Finals, the others being Germany’s Timo Boll, China’s Xu Xin and Vladimir Samsonov.

Against the odds, Chuang Chih-Yuan won in Stockholm in 2002; it was a quite remarkable feat. Prior to the success, he had never won an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title; earlier in the year he had been the runner on three occasions. In Qatar he had been beaten in the final by Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive, in the Netherlands he had suffered in the title decider against China’s Wang Hao; in Japan he lost to Kalinikos Kreanga of Greece.

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