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  1. Fraser Riley / England is offline
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    Fraser Riley - 1 - WHO IS THE BEST YOUNG PLAYER IN THE WORLD?

    Hi guys I’m Fraser, ITTF’s new young commentator. I’m starting to do a table tennis blog here on TTD! I’m looking forward to meeting you all

    WHO IS THE BEST YOUNG PLAYER IN THE WORLD?


    At 15, Walder was at the top tier of European table tennis.
    At 16, Fan Zhendong won the German Open.
    At 14, Harimoto won the Czech Open.
    Who has the best chance of being the next Ma Long or Waldner?

    These are the top 3 young players on the planet right now:
    1. Wang Chuqin
    2. Lin Yun Ju
    3. Tomokazu Harimoto

    Why?
    All 3 of them have beaten Ma Long, the undisputed GOAT, 2 times or more on the International Stage
    All three of them are ranked within the top 15 in the world (December 2020) Never have 3 players, all under the age of 21, been ranked in the world’s top 15 in the modern era of table tennis !
    All 3, without question, would be the top player in any other national association (apart from China) in the world.


    I remember once watching a Youtube video belonging to the channel of PingSunday EmRatThich.

    The topic of discussion was around who was stronger as a player at 14 years old? Ma Long, or Tomokazu Harimoto?
    I remember thinking at the time, "Well, surely Harimoto. Ma Long wasn't reaching the quarter finals of the World Championships at 13 years old" In fact, if you watch the video above, the player Ma Long looses to 4-0 is Lubomir Pistej, the man from Slovakia who Harimoto coincidently beat in the last 16 of the 2017 WTTC on his debut. Some wandered why on Earth Japan had put a 13 year old in Japan's Senior line-up for the World Championships!. After he did what he did, and lost in a close last 8 to Xu Xin, some even thought Harimoto had pulled a bit of a fluke despite a tremendous performance. But then when he went on to defeat Timo Boll in the final of the Czech open the same year, winning his first ITTF Tour title at age 14, people began to realise there was something remarkably special on the horizon. Since that time, Harimoto has beaten every main name in the Chinese national team on the world stage apart from only Xu Xin, Sun Wen, and Wang Chuqin (who I'll be talking about later). He has beaten the Dragon on a good few occasions. He is now world ranked at number 5 in the world and has established himself as biggest threat to the Chinese National Team in the last few years. His biggest achievements include winning opens such as the Czech, Bulgarian, Japan, Hungarian, and the Grand Finals. Did I forget to mention he has two Mens World Cup Medals, Bronze and Silver? His biggest regret, and the only thing that he won't have a chance to win now, is the Youth Olympics where he lost in the final to Wang Chuqin. However, it had become clear to that, after winning the World Junior Championships barely into his teenage years, even for one of the younger players in the under 18 category, he was the biggest fish in the most competitive pond. His focus was already aimed at the top of the world senior level, and boy has he gone on to show that! He is still only 17 years young and will be Japan’s number 1 star on home soil at the 2021 Olympic Games.

    Secondly, we have Lin Yun-Ju. At age 19, he is a player who is a slightly later bloomer than Harimoto. It was at the Czech Open, the same tournament in which Harimoto beat Boll in final to win his first senior title, that I first noticed Lin Yun Ju. It was him against Calderano, and it was the thrill from Brazil that advanced 4-3. It made me think, “wow, maybe this is the lad that will lead the Taipei team once Chuang Chih Yuan retires”. It was when he beat Ovtcharov (a year after Ovtcharov had a dream season) in the round of 32 at the Austrian Open that he really entered my potential radar. Although I knew it was possible as I’d seen it with Harimoto, little did I know that only two years later the young assassin would be beating the likes of Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Boll and pretty much every other player in the world’s top 20. His achievements include winning the T2 Diamond Malasia, coming runner up in the T2 Diamond Singapore, winning the Oman Open and also the Czech Open. In the Youth Olympics though, he did loose to Harimoto 4-3 in the semi-final, but as I have said before to people, the legends of the game are defined by how good they were as seniors, not juniors. Lin is currently ranked only two places behind Tomokazu at number 7 in the world. He will be, as it stands, Taiwan’s number 1 player at the Tokyo Olympics. Lin Yun Ju participates in the T League, where he impressed as one of the most undefeated players (He beat Harimoto 3-0 last season). Due to his incredible rise, he was invited to participate in the Chinese Super League in the same team as Liang Jingkun, Zhou Qihao and other amazing Chinese National Team players. Young Lin helped his team reach the final, but Ma Long got his revenge on Lin from a couple of days before where the Silent Assassin beat the Dragon 3-1. As an extra talking point, do you see Lin Yun Ju playing in the Chinese Super League as smart? Would being exposed to the Chinese be more of an advantage, or disadvantage to Lin Yun Ju in the future? Harimoto doesn’t play it, so why do you think this is? I bet it’s because Harimoto and his father/coach/coaches don’t want the Chinese to get used to his playing style. Lin Yun Ju is growing in confidence, developing his power to match his control and consistency, and already looks as though there are little gaps in his game. And aren’t his serves just incredibly beautiful, especially the long one!

    Last, but absolutely not least, is Mr. Firepower, Wang Chuqin. He shares the bad boy demeanour with Zhang Jike which I love, but also his willingness to learn. Despite being the eldest out of the three top youngsters at 20 years old, and the lowest ranked at 14, he is in my opinion better than Lin Yun Ju and Harimoto. First and foremost, lets talk about exposure. The Japanese, for example, have adopted a system where they introduce their junior players into the senior circuit because they belive it gives them the experience under pressure, and helps them learn about how to become a world class senior before they leave the junior age group. I must say, it seems to be working- just look at Harimoto, Yukiya Uda, and Shunsuke Togami as examples. They are already incredible senior players. On the other hand, China has a system where they prefer to train their young players up against the top seniors behind the scenes/walls of the CNT, and releases them at a slightly later stage. This also happens as the strength in depth is so immense in China, so its only the big 4, plus whoever is in sufficient form, who are selected to play world tours. It is because of these two reasons that Wang Chuqin is lower ranked than Harimoto and Lin Yun-Ju, not because of his lesser ability. Just look at Wang Chuqin at the Youth Olympics, after hardly playing any junior world tours. He swept away everyone, including Harimoto in the final. Harimoto has never beaten Wang out of a few encounters, although Lin has once at the 2019 China Open in the pre rounds. Wang Chuqin has another world title that neither Harimoto or Lin possesses - a world doubles title. Despite not being selected to play the singles at the 2019 WTTC, China put their young Chuqin alongside Captain Long. It was Wang’s first event, and only so far, at a World Championship. Is it significant that Wang Chuqin was put with Ma Long? Yes I think so. I believe China have huge plans for Wang Chuqin. They want him to be the best thing since Ma Long. Although he is a World Cup Master, Fan Zhendong isn’t taking his chances at the World’s. I have a very big feeling Wang will be playing the singles next time, especially if he can further increase his ranking of 14, and the way he has been playing lessens the chance of Fan winning a title. I’m not sure if the world is ready for how crazy Wang will be playing at his World Championship debut. It may be now or never for Fan. Wang also plays in the same Super League team as Ma Long. Not a bad role model to train and compete with, ay? As long as he learns from throwing his racket and getting a 3-month ban, which I’m sure he will, it’ll be so hard to stop Wang Chuqin. Another factor which is worth considering is styles. Harimoto is a right hander, Wang and Lin are left handers. It’s a common conception that left handers are at a slight advantage. Left handers are rarer; therefore, they have more practice playing against right handers than right handers have against left handers. However, there hasn’t been a left-handed World Champion or Olympic Champion since I can remember, so perhaps the jubilant Japanese junior won’t be too worried about facing Wang and Lin for that reason. It’ll be interesting to see, however, if Wang Chuqin or Lin can break that trend. Is table tennis, it is sport, so of course it’s about who is better on the day. On the big stages, that’s mostly down to who the coolest is under pressure. All three of these players already have these qualities, so we will have to see who does the best in the long term.

    Some of you may find the fact that I see Lin Yun Ju as more of a future prospect than Harimoto as controversial. These are my reasons:
    · His serves are more varied and unpredictable
    · He plays at a better distance away from the table than Harimoto.
    · Harimoto can be too passive when moved around the table, especially on the forehand
    · Lin has a better win/loss ratio. You can check ittf stats to see this
    · Lin is better at creating space to return shots that are placed into his middle area.
    · A bit less relevant, but Lin Yun Ju is a better doubles player than Harimoto.

    In conclusion, I see Wang as the best young talent, Lin as the second best, and Harimoto as the third.

    Thank you for reading my article! I have a few questions for you all. I’d love to see your answers

    1. Do you agree with my choices and the order I’ve chosen?
    2. Are there any players who I haven’t mentioned that you think should be in the top 3 young players?
    3. Who is your favourite young player (let’s say who is 21 or younger) ?


    And of course, if there’s any questions you’d like to ask me, fire away !

    Thank you!

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    Last edited by Fraser Riley / England; 12-30-2020 at 12:59 AM.

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    #2
    Fraser, thanks for this detailed post. I think it is an interesting discussion. I might suggest a little formatting or simplification as the post was not easy to read, but I got through it all and will share a few assorted thoughts:

    • Harimoto was introduced the world match scene much earlier than Chinese counterparts or LYJ. His revolutionary style is optimized for the new ball and some of his early success can be partially attributed to that. Not to take anything away from him, but of the three players he has the least technically sound game so that could present issues later on. He is still young and those things can, and have begun to, change, but things remain to be seen.
    • Harimoto started at a much earlier age than Lin YJ - Lin started at 9 years old according to Adam Bobrow's interview, so, age difference may be less of a factor here.
    • One reason Harimoto didn't play the Chinese Super League is likely because of his T. League obligations, there are other reasons as well which you may know of
    • Participation in the Super League shouldn't cause worry about being "exposed to the Chinese". There is already plenty of footage on them - the non-Chinese players probably benefit more from this exposure.
    • Wang Chuqin is a beast. I believe he just finished the last Super League season and won every singles match he played, several of them against top tier Chinese players.
    • Wang Chuqin has a fake age. He is 22. So, he could be on a different progress trajectory as the other two. Harimoto is still roughly 5 years younger but they all will be playing in the same generation.


    As to your questions, those are the clear top 3 picks. My order would be WCQ as the top prospect, and then LYJ and Harimoto at around the same level but both below WCQ. WCQ is just too damn good and his game has no holes. Harimoto has elite strengths in some parts with glaring deficiencies elsewhere, if he can fix those up he can be elite. I don't think you putting Harimoto last of the 3 is unfair though I don't necessarily agree either - Harimoto and LYJ are of a very similar class right now and I don't think anyone could safely pick one over the other. But WCQ is the top for sure (and also the oldest).

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    Placeholder. In before another war!

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    First post is like War and Peace.

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    #5
    WCQ has a fake age? Is the general consensus that all Chinese players still have fake ages, including FZD and ML?

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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser Riley / England
    ...Ma Long, the undisputed GOAT
    ...the undisputed GOAT?

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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SofaChamp
    WCQ has a fake age? Is the general consensus that all Chinese players still have fake ages, including FZD and ML?
    WCQ definitely does. It seems FZD doesn't. Don't know about Ma Long. It's not about general consensus, you have to know on a case-by-case basis. It is becoming less common now but there are still some "older" active players who have them. I know of one other current very high profile player who has one.

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    #8
    1. LGL on Harimoto in an interview with Zhibo TV in early 2018:
    德國隊他們的世界排名超過了我們,我一點也不擔心
    但是說,張本智和,他在現有的年齡段取得這樣的比賽成績,和對乒乓球的這個熱愛
    單純從打球上來說,我們現在同年齡的運動員,跟他打是沒有優勢
    他將是最大的一個變數
    因為,張本智和呢,他可能最大的閃光點不一定是在東京
    應該是在巴黎,下一屆
    下一屆我認為肯定是張本的最顛峰的一個狀態
    但是,當然,我只站在中國隊教練的角度去考慮
    日本的教練有沒有這個能力把他帶到最高水平,不好說
    Germany has surpassed us in world ranking, but I'm not the least bit worried
    On the other hand, Tomokazu Harimoto, given his accomplishments in his age group, and his passion for table tennis
    Purely from the aspect of playing, our athletes of the same age would have no advantage against him
    He is going to be the biggest variable
    Because for Harimoto, his greatest moment will probably not be Tokyo
    but Paris, the one after
    The one after, I think will definitely be Harimoto's prime
    However, I'm merely thinking from the standpoint of China
    Whether the Japanese coaches will be able to bring him to the highest level, that's another story

    2. Harimoto has defeated WCQ once, in the mixed team final a few days after the boy's singles final at the Buenos Aires 2018.

    3. LYJ has never defeated Harimoto in 3 previous formal encounters. ITTF recognizes only 2 international encounters in 2018 and 2019, but they actually first played at the East Asian Hopes in 2013. The clips(1 and 2) were filmed by the father of a competing HKG player and it became viral in China after I merged them and re-posted it.

    4. Kind of beside the point, but well. ML's status. Most decorated, yes. However, when it comes to contributions to/influence on table tennis, which I consider more important a criterion than just no. of titles/win rate as it certainly affected how I grew up and played, many players are above him.

    Waldner is one, for his service grip borrowed from the penhold grip, his receiving on which Cai Zhenhua has written a few articles, and the all-round loopdriving plus fast-attacking style that have become ubiquitous nowadays.

    In one issue of Table Tennis World in 2006, Yin Xiao credits KLH as the trailblazer for 中國式横板, the Chinese shakehand style, laying the foundation and paving the way for subsequent generations as LGZ and WLQ et al.

    In a recent issue of Table Tennis Kingdom, Mizutani claims ZJK as "the man who changed modern table tennis". WH plays a big part in that, as ZJK was his training partner once and ZJK has mentioned he had learned a lot from him. He still looked up to WH after all those wins. Besides polishing the chiquita, ZJK ushered in the era of 正手強,反手超強, strong FH, and yet super strong BH. That doesn't mean his footwork is poor, though. Some LGL's comments below.

    Right after WTGF 2008
    https://sports.sohu.com/20081215/n261219533.shtml
      “2012年,对于我们所有的运动员来说,马龙的决心最大!”中国男乒主教练刘国梁这样展望下一届奥运会。

      刘国梁认为,经过磨练后,马龙应该到了出成绩的时候。“以前他最怕王皓,今天不一样了,这就是成熟的表现”。
    ...
      在刘国梁眼里,马龙的优势是:技术全面、聪明、用心。除了没有更多的大赛经验外,他还存在特点不鲜明和杀伤力不够的缺陷。

      对此,刘国梁表示要通过两方面来解决马龙的问题:第一是解决他正手杀伤力的问题,“王皓的反手世界第一,但是正手不行,这就是缺陷,凡是在奥运会上得胜的选手都是正手杀伤力很强的,马龙也面临这个问题”。另外,就是要给他加压,“中国选手就是要在压力下成长。当然,有压力可能会失常,譬如在今年世界杯半决赛上,虽然他以3比1领先了波尔,但是最终被波尔翻盘,当时就给他压力要他赢,但他没有赢下来,说明抗压力的能力还不够。像这场比赛,秦志戬赛前认为他会赢,就是给他压力,现在看来,他慢慢适应了压力”。
    "For 2012, among all our players, Ma Long's determination is the greatest!" Liu Guoliang, head coach of China's men's table tennis, looked forward to the next Olympic Games.

    Liu Guoliang believes that after some tempering, the time has come for Ma Long to achieve results. "He used to fear Wang Hao the most. Not today. This is a sign of maturity."
    ...
    In Liu Guoliang's eyes, Ma Long's advantages are: comprehensive techniques, smart, and attentive. In addition to not having more experience in the competition, he also has the flaws of indistinct trait and insufficient firepower.

    In this regard, Liu Guoliang said that there are two ways to solve Ma Long’s problems: The first is to solve the problem of his forehand firepower. "Wang Hao's backhand is best in the world, but his forehand is not good. This is a flaw. Those who win at the Olympics have a very strong forehand, and Ma Long also faces this problem." On the other hand, put pressure on him, "CNT players have to grow under pressure. Of course, things may go wrong when under pressure. For example, in this year's World Cup semi-final, although he led Boll by 3 to 1, Boll made a comeback. We pressured him to win at the time, but he did not, indicating that his ability to resist pressure is not enough. Like this match, Qin Zhijian thought he was going to win beforehand, just to put pressure on him. Now it seems that he has slowly become used to the pressure".

    Right after WTGF 2012
    http://sports.sina.com.cn/o/2012-12-...06333088.shtml
      同为直板选手,刘国梁称赞马琳的全面,也赞叹王皓的先进。只是言谈中,刘国梁也略有惋惜地说:“王皓的反手还是世界第一,他把所有的技术都已经练到头了。他的问题表面上看好像是正手,但仔细研究实际是步法。”刘国梁回忆起2004年雅典亚运会的那场决赛。赛前20分钟,刘国梁带着王皓,金泽洙带着柳承敏在狭长的检录通道里候场。“我看王皓坐在椅子上,我说你活动活动。他活动了两下又往地上一坐,我说你起来啊,他说我压压腿。”刘国梁回忆道,“结果到了场上,蔡局也在看台上喊,‘王皓,跳一跳’‘王皓,兴奋一点’。他比谁都想要兴奋,可就是动不了。王皓其实腿部力量可以,但就是步法不行。”

      这样的例子不胜枚举。比如伦敦奥运会上,张继科在团体赛中输给波尔。“他说腿上像粘了胶水,根本动不了,球也够不着。”刘国梁说。再比如巅峰时期的王励勤,“他1.86米的身高,他跑到那状态,对手别说赢他一场,就是赢他一个球都困难。所以说,腿是乒乓球发展之父嘛。”
    As a penhold player, Liu Guoliang praised Ma Lin for being comprehensive and Wang Hao for being cutting edge. But still, Liu Guoliang also said with a little regret: "Wang Hao's backhand is still the world's best. He has honed all skills to the utmost. On the surface, his problem seems to be one of forehand, but upon a closer look it is actually one of footwork." Liu Guoliang recalled the final of the Athens Olympics. Twenty minutes before the match, Liu Guoliang led Wang Hao and Kim Taek-soo led Ryu Seungmin waiting in the narrow inspection hallway. "I saw Wang Hao sitting on a chair, I told him to get moving. He moved around a bit and then sat on the ground. I told him to get up, and he replied let me press my legs." Liu Guoliang recalled, "Once into the arena, Cai Zhenhua also shouted from the stands, 'Hop a bit, Wang Hao!' 'Psych up, Wang Hao!' He wanted to be more excited than anyone, but just couldn't move. Wang Hao actually has decent leg strength, but his footwork is not good."

    The list goes on. For example, at the London Olympics, Zhang Jike lost to Boll in the team event. "He said it was as if there was glue on his legs. He couldn't move at all, and he couldn't reach the ball," said Liu Guoliang. Another example is Wang Liqin at his peak, "He is 1.86 meters tall. Once he started running on all cylinders, it is difficult to even win a point, let alone a game. Therefore, legs are the father of development of table tennis."

    刘国梁:张继科赢在腿上 关键时刻下手更狠
    LGL: ZJK won by those legs, more determined when push comes to shove
    https://sports.qq.com/a/20130520/023012.htm
    王皓:千年老二?那说明我决赛进得多
    WH: Forever No. 2? That means I often reached the final
    https://sports.qq.com/a/20141224/029389.htm

    In a similar fashion to Hirano and Ito, Harimoto has also contributed by reinvigorating the fast-attacking style. At the press conference after losing to Harimoto at the All-Japan Championships 2018, Mizutani said he was fortunate to have won so many titles(9 at the time) before Harimoto came along and that his strength was on par with the CNT players. That's why I distinguish most decorated from greatest of all time.

    https://www.nikkan-gendai.com/articl.../sports/221677
    「中国選手と同じレベル。今日の張本くんがいつも通り100%の力だとしたら何回やっても勝てないと思う。張本くんが来る前にたくさん優勝しておいてよかった。他の日本人選手の誰がやっても勝てないと思います」と白旗を揚げた。
    "The same level as the CNT players. If today's Harimoto is 100% power as usual, I don't think I can win no matter how many times I do it. I'm grateful to have won so many times before Harimoto came along. I don’t think any other Japanese players can win," said Mizutani while waving a white flag.

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by SofaChamp
    WCQ has a fake age? Is the general consensus that all Chinese players still have fake ages, including FZD and ML?
    https://www.tabletennisdaily.com/for...l=1#post296235

    Also read the previous post, #309.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by zyu81
    [...] It seems FZD doesn't [...]
    I can assure you FZD does have fake age

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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Archyan
    I can assure you FZD does have fake age
    How ?

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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by zyu81
    How ?
    Sources, which include people who have been in China and talked to higher level coaches. Also, it's very unlikely to have THAT kind of body at 15-16; im not saying it's impossible, but very unlikely

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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Archyan
    Sources, which include people who have been in China and talked to higher level coaches. Also, it's very unlikely to have THAT kind of body at 15-16; im not saying it's impossible, but very unlikely
    It's not that uncommon but yes he did always look a bit older in his younger years. Are those coaches you spoke to speculating or they know for sure?

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Archyan
    Sources, which include people who have been in China and talked to higher level coaches. Also, it's very unlikely to have THAT kind of body at 15-16; im not saying it's impossible, but very unlikely
    Quote Originally Posted by zyu81
    It's not that uncommon but yes he did always look a bit older in his younger years. Are those coaches you spoke to speculating or they know for sure?
    This is from memory. I do think there is a thread on TTDaily with a photo of FZD when he was about 12. When he was 12 and below, he kind of looked young. Then there was a point (perhaps when he hit puberty), where he started looking a lot older than he had only months earlier.

    That does happen to some teenage boys. So, without direct proof, it is really hard to say. And direct proof is not someone who knows someone.

    I don't know how accurate his age is. But I don't have any proof either way. But I do remember, back in grade school, at around 12 year old, there was this point where, all of a sudden, there were a few kids who looked like they were in their 20s and the change happened quite quickly. I remember this with some girls as well where they just looked like kids and all of a sudden, they didn't anymore.
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    #15
    Discussion of FZD's age on Zhihu. Some claim to know coaches or friends that he's changed his age, but most conclude that his age is real after going through the circumstantial evidence, most notably clips of FZD from 2008 below that I referenced before. His friends, classmates and teammates have also defended his age before on Weibo. Another one is that his academic results were pretty good and playing table tennis was meant to get him into a good school. Turning pro was never the intention and his parents were reluctant to send him off to Bayi when the invitation was extended.

    Fanzhendong08200804
    @0:35, it can be heard "Who's this? Who? This...Kevin is 10 years old...he's 10 years old...'97...or '98... Impressive play. Good one there."


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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHam38iigZs
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ8rQS-B5dM
    Fanzhendong08200803
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88JxGOT6aJQ

    https://www.tabletennisdaily.com/for...10-years-old!!


    FWIW, Dan's personal account.

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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    This is from memory. I do think there is a thread on TTDaily with a photo of FZD when he was about 12. When he was 12 and below, he kind of looked young. Then there was a point (perhaps when he hit puberty), where he started looking a lot older than he had only months earlier.

    That does happen to some teenage boys. So, without direct proof, it is really hard to say. And direct proof is not someone who knows someone.

    I don't know how accurate his age is. But I don't have any proof either way. But I do remember, back in grade school, at around 12 year old, there was this point where, all of a sudden, there were a few kids who looked like they were in their 20s and the change happened quite quickly. I remember this with some girls as well where they just looked like kids and all of a sudden, they didn't anymore.
    I don't think every "high level coach" in China has inside information on his potential fake age which is why I asked. It is not uncommon at all for 16 year olds to look several years older as a good portion of body development is complete by that age. Therefore, speculating over how old someone looks is really pointless. Unless there is direct inside information, it's just speculation.

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    #17
    Hard to argue with WCQ's results. I think he's third best in the world, on a level of his own just below FZD and ML and above everyone else. Harimoto vs Lin comes down to who can develop the better forehand. As zeio suggested via Liu Guoliang, it might be a question of footwork and leg strength. I think Harimoto despite being younger is a little stronger, and has taken the lead with recent fh upgrades. But my guess is Lin has more room for improvement and will eventually overtake him.

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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Evil
    Hard to argue with WCQ's results. I think he's third best in the world, on a level of his own just below FZD and ML and above everyone else. Harimoto vs Lin comes down to who can develop the better forehand. As zeio suggested via Liu Guoliang, it might be a question of footwork and leg strength. I think Harimoto despite being younger is a little stronger, and has taken the lead with recent fh upgrades. But my guess is Lin has more room for improvement and will eventually overtake him.
    Lin's forehand looked noticeably stronger in the RESTART. So did Harimoto's. I don't think either has taken the lead in upgrades. Both still have a lot of room for improvement but I think it is worth considering that Harimoto has been playing for 5 years longer than Lin and likely has had more resources available to him in the early stages of his career, until recently.

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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by zyu81
    I don't think every "high level coach" in China has inside information on his potential fake age which is why I asked. It is not uncommon at all for 16 year olds to look several years older as a good portion of body development is complete by that age. Therefore, speculating over how old someone looks is really pointless. Unless there is direct inside information, it's just speculation.
    Yep. If you got what I was saying, I think his age might be accurate and some have been fooled by how he matured. I think Zeio's video is excellent, showing him look like a kid when he was a kid.

    I can't say either way. I won't speculate. Especially since I was saying and am saying it is not worth speculating when you don't have any really information.

    But, I think his age is more likely accurate than not. I just can't say anything with conviction because, like almost everyone on the site, we just don't know.

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    #20
    WCQ has the best technique out of the three and is no doubt the best at the moment. I agree that Harimoto and LYJ need to improve their FH to be able to compete with FZD and WCQ in the future.

    With Harimoto, the power is ok, but the technique and consistency are not good enough. He’s getting a little better recently, but still a long way to go.

    With LYJ, the technique is there, but he doesn’t have much power. I don’t see improvement yet, when he played against Chinese players in recent tournaments, they often took advantage of his lack of FH power. In many occasions, Lin had the initial upper hand but couldn’t finish the point because his FH is not deadly enough (spin + speed). He is already using a very fast blade (zjk super zlc) so i’m a bit worried that he still lacks power, hope it’s just a matter of maturing physically and adding more muscle.

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