Who is better Ito Mima or Hirano Miu? and more importantly who has a greater chance of becoming a World or Olympic Champion?
Table tennis is, in fact, a huge sport and it’s a shame that many don’t know or fully understand the sheer scale of table tennis. There are certain elements in the game that overshadow other things. In this instance both Ito and Miu, I believe have not been given the attention or respect they fully deserve.
Most know that Harimoto is the most successful 15-year-old (Now) table tennis player to date. Something I’ve learnt potential greatness is not factual greatness and Harimoto will go down as the current best junior player of all time. But he’s nowhere near being the greatest player of all time. Where he will go from here is yet to be unfolded and we must enjoy his current pathway.
Miu Hirano and Ito Mima
On the other side of the coin, there are two special young girls from the same country (Japan). These two spectacular young players have been overshadowed by Harimoto. Considerations include; women’s table tennis is not as popular. Harimoto is a lot more vocal, he is younger and his playing style is unique in the men’s game by using many flat, fast and hard shots.
Currently 18 years old ranked no.7 in the world and holds a world cup title alongside an Asian Championship singles title.
Extremely close to the table, very short strokes and stands mid-table (like in tennis holding a ‘T’ ready position. Miu is extremely fast and uses her opponent’s power against them with short fast counter hits. Mainly uses one serve and does not seem comfortable with personal adaptation.
I believe she will be a top 10 player for many years but a true world beater I’m not convinced, her style of play is limited and she struggles to contain heavy deep topspins to either wing. She also struggles with deep pushes to either wing and her personality I feel holds her potential back. She is reserved and shocked when she achieves something she didn’t believe could occur.
Still, only 17 years old Ito, has a similar story to Harimoto. Mima burst onto the scene when she was aged 11 and has beaten players world ranked inside the top 50. Mima became the youngest female player ever to reach top 10 senior worlds ranked when she was aged 14.
Versatile, with many variations of shots including both topspin and flat counter hits. Lovely variety of serves, physically strong and has an over-all dynamic gameplay. Ito prefers to stay close to the table and spread her players from side to side.
I believe Mima can win a major if not a few major world titles. She has a winning mentality and seems willing to adapt and develop her game. due to her versatility, her progression line has slightly halted over the past year or two. Nevertheless, over the next few years, she will learn how and when to utilise her tools and then her performances will develop into new heights.
There are three amazing young Japanese players all inside the top 10. Ishikawa is currently world no.4 but is 25 years old. Both Ito and Miu are still in their teens. I think this trio will challenge for a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games.
Miu has won bigger titles currently compared to Ito but Mima is ranked 2 places above Miu on the world ranking list.
Mima, in my mind, will overtake Miu’s current title list and in a few years may be challenging for the world no.1 spot.
Let time tell the story
Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis
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