Miu Hirano was the young, 16 year old, Japanese sensation that created history in Philadelphia, USA last year when she was crowned 2016 Women’s World Cup Champion. It was a first for Japan as they broke a seemingly endless run of Chinese victories.
Since it’s debut in 1996 the Women’s World Cup had been won by a Chinese player on every occasion – 2016 would be different. Following the withdrawal of China’s best the door was wide open for another nation to stand atop the podium, but did anybody expect the young talent Hirano to emerge victorious?
With many other experienced international players in the draw it was a task that most people would never assume her to succeed in. Players like Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, her teammate Mima Ito and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching all joined the lineup and stood between Hirano and a dream victory.
She would however, in front of an excited crowd, stun her opposition and the spectators by upsetting the odds. Perhaps the result which began to turn heads was her victory over teammate Mima Ito, eyebrows where raised and maybe then people began to ask the question of whether the young star was in form to take the top spot.
It would boil down to a final against Cheng I-Ching and with momentum on her side the young Hirano would emerge the champion.
To come out of almost nowhere and win an event that nobody expected to be possible is sometimes just a one-off, especially for a player so young, but Hirano has continued to climb from strength to strength.
At this year’s Asian Championships she pulled off a feat many would consider impossible, she defeated three of China’s best players to win the title, including Olympic Champion Ding Ning. The result sent shockwaves around the globe as some began to wonder if Hirano could be the player to finally surpass China.
Hirano is currently ranked 6th in the world, an impressive placing for a player of her age. She has drawn a fan-base and spectators who are in awe of her incredible dexterity and speed close to the table, and continues to improve on the international stage.
In just over 20 days we will see whether Hirano can find her best form again as she attempts to defend her World Cup title. This time China will surely be looking to thwart her efforts, but could the rapid and youthful Hirano overcome them again?
Only time will tell, days are counting down and tickets are selling quickly. Get yours today and be sure to witness some of the fastest encounters in any sport on the planet!