February: Liu Jia

Liu Jia - photo by the ITTF– photo provided courtesy of the ITTF

Following her success at the Austria Top 12 tournament, SD Sport has decided to take an in depth look into Liu Jia’s background in February’s edition of Spotlight.

Born February 1982 in Beijing (China), Liu is an Austrian international table tennis player who has been successfully winning professional titles throughout her career. Liu went to Shischa Sporting High School (Beijing) before joining Shian Nuntan table tennis club, but despite showing impressive form in Cadet and Junior competitions her chances of making a strong Chinese women’s team were small and she decided to travel to Austria to play for Linz AG Froschberg.

In 1998 Liu announced herself on the world stage winning gold medals in the Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles events at the European Youth Championships, and she defended her Singles and Mixed golds the following year. Aged 18, Liu then took part in the 2000 Sidney Olympic Games where she progressed to the 3rd Round of the Women’s Singles competition, a feat she would repeat at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games.

Liu is a four time winner of ITTF World Tour events, three of the titles coming in the Women’s Singles category, and the Austrian player also reached the quarter-finals of the 2001 World Championships (Singles and Doubles). Perhaps Liu Jia’s greatest achievement though came at the 2005 European Championships where she won the Women’s Singles gold medal in Aarhus, Denmark.

The 2016 Austria Top 12 competition was yet another event for Liu to showcase her dominance over her fellow Austrian players, as she only dropped one game (3-1 victory over Amelie Solja in the Women’s final) on her way to the title.

Liu Jia vs Seo Hyowon (2015 Women’s World Cup) – video kindly shared by the ITTF