The South Koreans are favored to steal away both the men's and women's championship titles at a table tennis tournament in Ba Ria Vung Tau next week.
A hundred plus players from South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and host Vietnam will compete at the International Golden Table Tennis Paddle Competition July 13-18.
Organizers said they expected the Thai team to take second place in the women's category thanks to big names like Nanthana Komwong (ranked 89th in the world), Anisara Muangsuk (ranked 122nd) and Suthasini Sawettabut (107th).
Singapore looks powerful in the men's category with strong players like Ma Liang (ranked 164th) and Liu Zhongze (190th).
Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong have only sent young players to the competition for training and to gain the experience needed for bigger competitions later.
Vietnam has four teams: the national team, the Ho Chi Minh City team, Petrovietnam and Vietsovpetro.
Petrovietnam has Vietnam's number one player Doan Kien Quoc and two Chinese teammates Kou Lei and Yang Cei while Vietsovpetro has a female Chinese player Yang Xiao. They are expected to fair well at the event.
Nguyen Trong Truc, deputy director of HCMC Table Tennis Federation, said this is the first time Vietnam has foreign players playing for Vietnamese clubs at the event.