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Teenager Ito earns table tennis accolade

Kyodo

Mima Ito, a 15-year-old table tennis prodigy, won the newly established Breakthrough Star of the Year award on Wednesday at the International Table Tennis Federation’s end-of-year awards in Lisbon.

Ito, who won the German Open in March at 14 to become the youngest singles winner on the world tour, went on to reach the last eight in the world championships in May in China, surpassing Ai Fukuhara as the youngest Japanese player to reach that stage.

“I’m honored to be given the award,” said Ito in a statement issued by the Japan Table Tennis Association on Thursday. “There’s been a tough period during the course of the season but I believe I got this because I overcame that.”