December: Zhou Yihan

photo by the ITTF – photo provided courtesy of the ITTF

The final spotlight of 2015 takes a closer look at Singapore’s Zhou Yihan, following her success at December’s Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships.

Zhou was born in China (Liaoning) in 1994 and began playing table tennis at the age of six. She moved to Singapore in 2009 before becoming eligible to represent her new country in 2011, and in the very same year she won the Women’s U21s gold at the Brazil Open.

In 2013 Zhou Yihan participated in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships (New Delhi) where she won gold medals for the Women’s Team and Mixed Doubles tournaments, and became the Global Junior Circuit Finals Girls’ Singles champion in the same year.

The 21-year-old impressed in 2014 winning gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the Women’s Team event, and finishing in 1st place across three categories (Women’s Team, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles) at the SEA Table Tennis Championships.

Zhou Yihan has built up a solid women’s doubles partnership with fellow compatriot Lin Ye, and in 2015 they finished runners-up at the Swedish Open and won the Women’s Doubles title at the Belgium Open. However, Zhou and Lin’s most notable victory came in the semi-finals of the 2015 Japan Open, where they beat China’s Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen before eventually finishing in 2nd place.

Surat was the host city for the 2015 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, and it proved to be a happy hunting ground for Zhou Yihan picking up: Women’s Singles, Women’s Team and Women’s Doubles golds.

Zhou/Lin vs Ding/Liu (2015 Japan Open Women’s Doubles semi-finals) – video kindly shared by the ITTF