April: Mima Ito

mima ito

SD Sport’s spotlight focuses on Japan’s 14-year-old wonder kid Mima Ito, who in March beat Germany’s Petrissa Solja to become the youngest ever Pro Tour event winner in the history of table tennis.

Mima Ito was born in 2000 in Shizuoka Prefecture Japan, where both Jun Mizutani and Miu Hirano were born. Mima is well known for breaking records in table tennis; she became the youngest female player to: win a match at the Japanese Senior Table Tennis Championships, win an ITTF Junior Circuit and, together with Miu Hirano, win a doubles competition at an ITTF World Tour (German Open) aged 10, 11 and 13 at the respective times.

Mima Ito has also won the junior girl’s singles and cadet girl’s singles titles twice at the Chinese Taipei Open (following which she became very popular with Japanese table tennis fans) along with winning the 2011 Korean Open cadet girl’s singles event.

In March Mima Ito was ranked 38th in the senior women’s world rankings, but following an impressive month she has risen to 15th. Mima also has U21s, U18s and U15s rankings: 4th, 1st and 1st respectively.
At the 2015 German Open in March, Mima Ito defeated some of the world’s best female table tennis competitors such as: Germany’s Han Ying (ranked 9th in April 2015) and Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (ranked 4th in April 2015). Petrissa Solja was Mima’s opponent in the women’s final in Bremen; Solja had previously won the U21s category at the same tournament and went into the match against Mima with the support of the home crowd. However, Japan’s young starlet put in a commanding performance to win the match 4-2 and add another record to her name.

Mima Ito also participated at the ITTF Spanish Open and made it to the final of the women’s U21s event where she only just lost out to Miu Hirano 2-3. Miu Hirano and Mima Ito have been playing together since they were 4 years old and played in the doubles event together in Spain, finishing as runners up to fellow countrywomen Fukuhara and Wakamiya. One interesting fact is that Ito also made it into the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records for the most table tennis counter hits in one minute!

photo provided “courtesy of the ITTF”

Mima Ito vs Petrissa Solja at the 2015 German Open Women’s singles final