Lee Ho-ching gives herself no chance in Asian Cup
Promising youngster drawn against two top players from the mainland and Japan
Promising Hong Kong table tennis player Lee Ho-ching faces a mission impossible in the Asian Cup despite a run of impressive performances since last month.
The 20-year-old was drawn against Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan, Wu Yang of China and Seok Ha-jung of South Korea in group C of the US$100,000 tournament, which begins at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai today.
A total of 12 leading players from the region, including world No 2 Liu Shiwen of China, were drawn into three groups. There is also a challenge group comprising players from Thailand, Qatar and India.
"If I can last even 20 minutes against Wu, I'll be happy," Lee said. "She is the best defensive player in the world and has never lost other than to her compatriots in an international competition.
"Against Ishikawa, there is also little chance. I have so far only beaten her once and that was years ago in an under-15 event."
The top two players from each of the three groups will make it to the quarter-finals, while two other berths in the last eight will be contested by the third-best player in each group and the winner of the challenge group.
Lee, currently ranked 58th in the world, is a last-minute replacement for teammate Tie Yana, who called in sick.
Lee, however, was a key member of the Hong Kong team who finished third in the World Team Cup Classic on the mainland last month. She also reached the semi-finals in the Korean Open last week.
Another Hong Kong representative, Jiang Huajun, was placed in group B along with Feng Tianwei of Singapore, Sayaka Hirano of Japan and Huang Yi-hua of Taiwan.
In the men's category, coach Chan Kwong-wah expects his two charges, Tang Peng and Jiang Tianyi, to reach the quarters.