by Simon Daish
Victorious at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships on Sunday 23rd October, Hu Melek turned out to be one of Europe’s standout players last year.
Now the 28-year-old is busy training ahead of the upcoming 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup set to take place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th February in Antibes.
Hu Melek will be making her fifth appearance at the tournament and it will be her third showing at the event since its expansion from 12 to 16 players in 2015 when the competition was hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Turkish player finished in fifth position in 2015 and one year later at the 2016 Europe Top 16 event in Gondomar, Portugal Hu Melek stunned the opposition to finish the Women’s Singles draw as runner up to Spain’s Shen Yanfei.
One year on and Hu Melek is hoping for another successful outing when the 2017 Europe Top 16 heads to the town of Antibes, located on the French Riviera.
“I feel good now. This is my first match of this year. I hope I can do well. Last year at the Europe Top 16 I finished second. Of course, this year I hope I can make a breakthrough!”, Hu Melek.
January 2017’s ITTF World Rankings table has Hu Melek sitting in 11th position, and the Turkish player enters the 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup as the top seed for the Women’s Singles competition.
However, despite her success over the course of the previous year Hu Melek isn’t getting ahead of herself and is well aware of the high level opposition awaiting her at the 2017 Europe Top 16.
“After I won the European Championships I have more confidence in myself. About the Europe Top 16 each player is very powerful. I hope that against each player that I can play to my best level”, Hu Melek.
Great strides were made by Hu Melek in 2016, starting the year 23rd in the ITTF World Rankings table before going on to secure 13th position in December.
Arguably the standout moment for the Turkish athlete last year was her capture of the Women’s Singles gold medal at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She also represented her country at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and went on to reach the final of the 2016 Swedish Open in Stockholm, and now Hu Melek wants to carry her positive showings from 2016 into the 2017 international campaign.
“2016 was a particularly rewarding year for me. Also it was the best year in my table tennis career. In 2017, I hope I can make greater progress in the World Championships and can get better results”, Hu Melek