Today, we are going to focus on one of the most exciting and popular players on the Men’s circuit, Koki Niwa.
Koki is 25 years old, was born in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan. Here are some snippets after some research:
1. A young Koki was inspired to play Table Tennis by his father who was a top player. He uses a TSP Swat Power Blade and Victas V 15 extra on both sides.
2. The beginning of Koki’s meteoric rise to stardom can be traced back to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, in which he won the Singles and Mixed Gold Medals. He then went on to become the World Junior Singles Champion in 2011, and successfully defended the title in 2012! He made his senior debut for Japan in 2008 when only 14 years old!
3. His biggest win and one that made everyone stand up and take notice of his talents was in 2012 when he defeated the World #1 Ma Long to become the first Asian player to qualify for the London Olympics the same year!
4. Koki is fairly small in stature, he is only 5 ft 4” tall and weighs around 50kg. He once stated that he believed that he was ‘Given a trial on the way to the top by the God of Table Tennis’. From a very young age he realised that he had to adapt his game to his size and so decided to stay very close to the table and focus on speed and reactions.
5. ‘The Chop Block King’ is a born competitor and winner. He openly admits to having no pre match nerves and so has no music or rituals, he simply lays down and meditates for 1 minute in order to be as relaxed as possible. He is not a big ‘Choer’, and actually admitted that the more matches he wins, the quieter he becomes!
6. Niwa made his debut in the Bundesliga in 2012 for TTC Matec Frickenhausen and incredibly held the highest winning average in the 2013/14 season, hence ‘beating the best of the best’!
7. Koki’s world ranking has been incredibly consistent as he has been in the top 20 pretty much for the last 8 years, he reached his highest of #5 in November 2017 and is currently #13. His biggest achievement to date is probably when, along with Mizutani and Yoshimura, helped Japan to a Silver Medal in the World Team Championships in 2016. That same year, he reached the quarter finals of the Singles event in the Olympic Games and only lost out to the eventual Silver medallist Zhang Jike.
8. He once played a match in which his Racquet flew out of his hand and hit a shocked lady umpire in the head! Luckily, there is a picture of her smiling afterwards, so it looks like no serious harm was done!
9. Niwa’s favourite food is Curry with Tukemen noodles, washed down with Whisky and Ginger Ale. Sounds yum!
He loves doing fitness and weight training and enjoys a lovely relaxing spa or water bath afterwards!
10. Koki Niwa is cool, unflappable and is as fast as a cat. He has great serves, a deft touch and incredible footwork. He is a brilliant competitor without being loud and some have compared him to being like a modern day Stellan Bengtsson. It is obvious why he is so popular!
Please check out some of The Chop Block King’s best shots and rallies on YouTube!