Qualification tournaments at both world and continental level completed for Asia; currently, no less than 49 players from 14 National Olympic Committees are bound for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
A full house of players for Japan being the host nation; for the remaining, required to qualify, it is now 18 months ago since the first names were known. At the 2019 Asian Championships staged in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta from Sunday 15th to Sunday 22nd September, by virtue of winning the men’s and women’s team events, China booked Tokyo places.
For both countries, three players in each of the men’s team and women’s team, plus, involving players who must be team members, two players in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles as well as one mixed doubles partnership.
Decision day in Yogyakarta, four months later from Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th January, it was decision day in Gondomar, Portugal.
In the men’s team event, Hong Kong (Ho Kwan Kit, Lam Siu Hang, Wong Chu Ting) secured a Tokyo place, as did Korea Republic (Jang Woojin, Jeoung Youngsik, Lee Sangsu). Likewise, Chinese Taipei (Chen Chien-An, Chuang Chih-Yuan and Lin Yun-Ju) progressed.
Meanwhile, in the women’s team event, no less than six teams made Tokyo reservations. Hong Kong (Doo Hoi Kem, Lee Ho Ching, Minnie Soo Wai Yam), DPR Korea (Cha Hyo Sim, Kim Nam Hae, Kim Song I) and Singapore (Feng Tianwei, Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu) emerged successful as did Korea Republic (Choi Hyojoo, Shin Yubin, Suh Hyowon) and Chinese Taipei (Chen Szu-Yu, Cheng Hsien-Tzu and Cheng I-Ching).
Thus, at the conclusion of the team qualification procedure, seven National Olympic Committees – China, Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea Republic, Singapore – had made Tokyo reservations. Overall, 15 men and 21 women.
Next stop on the list was the Agricultural Bank of China 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Zhengzhou held from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 15th December.
Members of teams as the regulations required, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen (China), Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito (Japan), Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei), alongside Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong) emerged the pairings to gain qualification.
However, as the hosts, Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito had automatically qualified; thus, one extra position became available. The numbers of National Olympic Committees involved, nor numbers of players increased.
Matters in Zhengzhou completed, the next stop was one month later, the Jordanian capital city of Amman from Sunday 23rd to Wednesday 26th February, the West Asia singles qualifier. Ali Alkhadrawi (Saudi Arabia) and Hend Zaza (Syria) emerged successful.
Thus, nine National Olympic Committee, a total of 16 men and 22 women now represented the Asian cause.
A break of over one year owing to the pandemic, the World Singles Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Doha from Sunday 14th to Wednesday 17th March, witnessed success for Suthasini Sawattabut (Thailand). One more National Olympic Committee added to the list, one more to the women’s order; on duty for Asia, the list read ten National Olympic Committee, a total of 16 men and 23 women.
Immediately following came the Asian Olympic Qualification event, also held in Doha; for the men there was success for Nima Alamian (Iran), Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (India), Enkhbatyn Lkhagvasüren (Mongolia), Clarence Chew (Singapore) and eventually, Sharath Kamal Achanta (India).
Meanwhile, for the women, Anastassiya Lavrova (Kazakhstan), Bolor-Erdene Batminkhin (Mongolia), Orawan Paranang (Thailand), Sutirtha Mukherjee (India) and Manika Batra (India) reserved Tokyo positions.
Notably, Sharath Kama Achanta and Manika Batra reserved the one available mixed doubles place.
Therefore, four more National Olympic Committees plus a further five men and five women were added to Asia’s list.
The end result for the continent, overall, 14 National Olympic Committees, a total of 21 men and 28 women comprise the list.
Editor: Ian Marshall