Nigerian players are among the biggest beneficiaries of the new ITTF ranking system as Aruna Quadri gained a step to start 2018 at 20 in the January 2018 ranking released by the world table tennis ruling body.
Quadri’s compatriot, Olajide Omotayo, gained by the new ranking moving from 514 to 213 in the January 2018 ranking.
Having ended 2017 at 21, Quadri began the year at 21 while Egypt’s Omar Assar also gained from the new ranking system as the Egyptian is ranked 16 in the world.
At world level, a new order took place as the reign of China’s Ma Long came to an end in the new ranking as the Olympic and World Champion has been displaced by Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
According to ITTF, the new system took into consideration the number of competitions that each player competes in while such player is also expected to earn points from every stage he attains in the tournament.
China’s Long, who dropped to seven in the latest rating has dominated the ranking for more than two years missed out of the latest ranking as the best player in the world as the top spot is now being occupied by Ovtcharov.
For Ovtcharov, the top spot is as a result of a series of outstanding performances in the past year by the now 29-year-old who enjoyed the best 12 months of his career last year.
He won the ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup, as well as at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in addition to reserving the top step of the podium on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour in Bulgaria, China, Germany and India. Additionally he reached the fourth round of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships and was the runner up at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
Simply, those results are the reason why for the first time in his career, Dimitrij Ovtcharov occupies the no.1 spot in the world order; the system now in place being based on the best eight results gained in the immediate preceding 12 month period, as opposed to the previous system when wins and losses against adversaries were the basis calculator.
No other incumbent can match that record; colleague Timo Boll appears at no.3 behind China’s Fan Zhendong but other notable names, who like Timo Boll have ascended to the top spot during their illustrious careers, the new listings do not make the most pleasant reading.
China’s Xu Xin is at no.5; colleague Ma Long, the reigning Olympic Games and World champion is at no.7, whilst Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus stands at no.25. Most significantly, Zhang Jike, also from China and like Ma Long, the winner of the most prestigious titles on planet earth, occupies the no.54 spot.
Notably, Jun Mizutani, in recent times, the highest rated Japanese player on the Men’s World Rankings is now at no.13; the leading names from the Land of the Rising Sun being Koki Niwa at no.6, Kenta Matsudaira at no.10 and Tomokazu Harimoto, one place lower.
Similarly, Sharath Kamal Achanta is no longer the top listed player from India; he appears at no.51, three places behind Sathiyan Gnanasekaran at no.48.
Progress for South Asia but if any part of the world has reason to rejoice it is Africa; two players from that continent in the top 20 for the first time ever. Egypt’s Assar is at no.16, Nigeria’s Aruna at no.20.