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Danish Open: Victory at home

Michael Maze wins his first ever Pro Tour title

ITTF Press Release

Denmarkís Michael MAZE won his first ever title on the ITTF Pro Tour on Sunday 24 October 2004 and surely he could not have chosen a better location for the achievement. He won on home ground beating Hong Kongís LEUNG Chu Yan to be crowned the Danish Open Menís Singles champion.

The victory was revenge for MAZE; their only previous encounter at international level being in August 2004 when LEUNG Chu Yan had won in the last thirty-two of the Menís Singles event at the Olympic Games in Athens.

Michael MAZE and LEUNG Chu Yan were both promising players in their teenage days and clearly their national associations were impressed and had good foresight.

In 1996 I contacted the Danish Table Tennis Association to ask if they had a young player who I could feature in Table Tennis Illustrated on the page entitled `Tomorrowís Starsí. They duly obliged and sent me the biography of the boy who had just won the Cadet Boysí Singles title at the European Youth Championships, a certain Michael MAZE.

One year later I contacted Hong Kong and asked if they had a young player I could feature; very quickly came the response; they sent details of a young man who had won the Menís Singles title at the Hong Kong Open one year earlier; you guessed right, it was LEUNG Chu Yan.

In the intervening years both players have matured into senior international athletes of high calibre. MAZE is now twenty-three years old whilst LEUNG Chu Yan is some eighteen months older. Both are fine players, both have enjoyed success in singles events and both are very good doubles players; MAZE having gained acclaim with Finn TUGWELL and LEUNG Chu Yan with CHEUNG Yuk.

During the past eight years the Dane has progressed from success at cadet level to success at senior level; many donít make this transition. You only need look at the roll of honour in the European Youth Championships in the cadet events and many have not progressed to high senior status; for those who won at junior level there is a higher percentage rate of senior success.

In Ňarhus, MAZE prevailed and he will no doubt in later life look back on 2004 as the year he made a break through into the high echelons of table tennis. He won the Europe Top Twelve in February, clinched bronze in the Menís Doubles in the Olympics and was crowned Menís Singles champion at the ITTF Pro Tour Danish Open, a year to remember.

Menís Singles Final:
Michael MAZE (DEN) bt LEUNG Chu Yan (HKG) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5

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