by Wade Townsend
The All Japan Table Tennis Championships got underway yesterday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Sendagaya.
More than 1000 athletes are competing for the titles on offer in both junior and open categories.
All eyes will be on Jun Mizutani and Kasumi Ishikawa as both aim for a fourth consecutive title. Ishikawa has lifted the trophy on four occasions while Mizutani has won the event eight times and was the first man to hold the title for five consecutive years. Both will have to see off more than 200 competitors if they are to retain their title.
Mizutani has taken the responsibility and duty of being Japan’s number one ranked male athlete seriously, and is full of confidence going in to the event.
“I should be number one.” Jun Mizutani
Meanwhile Ishikawa was more reserved when she spoke to the media and sees a tough road ahead if she is to make it through to the final.
“I am a challenger.” Kasumi Ishikawa
Day One saw the opening ceremony followed by the first round of the Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Singles and Mixed Doubles in the afternoon. Men’s and Women’s Singles commence today 9:30am local time.
Live streams of the event can be found here, with action from 24 tables being broadcast.