Numbers add up for the top Chinese

THE Chinese are coming and the arrival of some world class players has ensured a near sell-out already for the English Open Table Tennis Championships in Sheffield this week.

The glittering event at the English Institute of Sport, a major part of the ITTF Pro Tour, has entries from 44 countries among them some of the world's top ranked players including the world champion.

He is Wang Hao, current World No 3, whilst fellow countrymen from China include World No 4 Zhang Jike, the Chinese Open champion, World No 5 Ma Lin who is Olympic champion, and former world champion Wang Liqin, the world No 7.

The world's top seven women will all be taking part and such a cast, as well as ensuring a huge welcome from the local chinese community around the region, has seen tickets for finals weekend almost sold out.

Interest is high to for the erarly stages which start tomorrow with finals taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

Rotherham's Paul Drinkhall is seeded fifth in the Under21 event with Chesterfield duo Liam Pitchford and Darius Knight 9th and 10th respectively. Drinkhall is seeded 31 in the men's singles.

"Finals weekend is always a big attraction, but to bevirtuallysold out a week in advance is a really big bonus and even the qualifying rounds are proving very popular," said official Mike Holt.

Tickets are available from EIS by calling 07506 624921 and can be collected at EIS.

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