A phenom, when he was 11 years old, exploded onto the world table tennis scene in Sweden, when he reached the final of Safir’s!
7 years ago Harimoto went on to become world junior no.1 and won the world junior championships aged 13. He also reached the quarter finals of the mens singles WC in 2014.
Harimoto, is a fierce competitor, always fighting for each point and expresses his will physically and vocally. Was produced initially by his parents with a vision of one day their child would beat the formidable Chinese. Harimoto is without any doubt China’s biggest threat! Why? Because he has beaten both Ma and FZD in big events. But that’s not the main reason, it’s because he is so young and like any young person, they are able to adapt, change and develop at a faster rate compared to older athletes.
Harimoto, has had some incredible success but also faced some poor losses and endured some low periods. Yet he has come out returned and remodelled, like new each time his form had a dip.
Fortune has provided Harimoto with another year to prepare for the Olympics. In the past few years he has shown his capabilities pulling off occasional win’s against the likes of Ma and FZD but he did not seem truly ready to win a major event, such as the worlds or Olympics.
- Highest world ranking no.3
- World Tour Grand finals winner
- Best Wins – Fan Zhendong & Ma Long
Can Harimoto really win?
In truth I have not seen much of him in the past year due to Covid. But I am certain he will have been putting in over time in the gym and TT hall. I’ve seen a few videos and pictures and he looks bigger and stronger than ever. I do genuinely believe he is aiming to win a gold medal for his nation but history may have to wait! I think he is still a little too young and does not possess the experience to cope and manage under such a monumental occasion. What does work in his favour is that crowds will be minimised (most would say home crowd can uplift your game) and I do agree. But aged 18 and carrying a nations weight on your shoulders is a tall ask! Therefore on this occasion a smaller crowd favours Harimoto in my opinion and he can go about his business focusing on the task at hand.
I have put Harimoto at 3rd spot on my list of potential gold medalist because he is truly capable of beating anyone and winning the title. But does he have what it takes? For me his biggest weakness is his focus of energy. Shouting, screaming and sinking to the ground after each point won. He is expending a huge amount of energy which is misdirected. Energy is limited and if you don’t hone your energy your reducing your capability of maximum potential. This may be a confidence issue or lack of maturity but it does have an effect and it may mean settling for a possible bronze medal.
Harimoto is either loved or disliked because of his vocal cords and for me I admire him. A boy that expresses his inner joy is something we rarely see these days. Often we are told to pipe down and Harimoto uses his pipes to sing his way to victory.
If he does pull off a miracle and win the gold medal, he will become a sporting god in Japan and we may very well see many more like Harimoto in the future…
Please share your thoughts and comments.