Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Japanese crybaby now table tennis star

ai fukuhara

Source: Reuters

Japan's Ai Fukuhara, famous for bursting into tears on national television as a toddler, has been given top billing at the world table tennis championships before she has even pinged a ball in anger.

The 20-year-old brought practice to a standstill on Tuesday, spending more than two hours tossing balls high into the air to see how the lights at the arena would affect her serve.

Japanese camera crews tripped over themselves to film Fukuhara, who has little realistic chance of disrupting China's dominance at the April 28-May 5 championships in Yokohama.

"I was working out exactly where to throw the ball into the lights," Fukuhara was quoted as saying in Japanese newspapers on Wednesday. "I'm beginning to get excited about the championships."

Fukuhara will take centre stage, with one of the courts already being christened "Ai-chan's Court" (Little Ai's Court).

Once the darling of the Japanese media, Fukuhara appeared regularly on TV shows as a child where she would throw tantrums and wail out loud if she lost a point to celebrities.

I remember seeing her in the 2008 Beijing Games. She played so many games in the team competition because Japan play poorly early and had to going around the backdoor repechage to battle for Bronze.

In singles she played ok but got an unlucky draw and had to face the #1 seed from China in the last 16.

Here's some footage of the Bronze medal team battle against Korea

Youtube Link

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