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Olympic Games: mental test for Nima Alamian

Sunday 20 June

Successful earlier this year in March at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha, for Iran’s Nima Alamian securing his place in Tokyo, play commencing in the Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday 24th July, was from a mental aspect a most testing occasion.

Not only did he experience defeat in the group stage; he denied two players who had impressed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the opportunity for a return to the greatest stage of all, one his elder brother.

In his opening match in Doha, competing in the Central Asia event, he accounted for Uzbekistan’s Elmurod Kholikov (11-2, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2) but then experienced defeat by the narrowest of margins in opposition to Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko (14-12, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9).

Second place in the group meant progress to the main draw; it was at that stage he faced the most daunting task of all, he confronted Noshad Alamiyan, his sibling, seeking a third Olympic Games appearance. Nima prevailed in five games (11-6, 6-11, 12-10, 13-11, 13-11).

A hard fought contest, a place in the final reserved, he faced Zokhid Kenjaev, like  Elmurod Kholikov from Uzbekistan. Elmurod Kholikov was very much the man in form; at the semi-final stage he had caused an upset of note by overcoming Kirill Gerassimenko (11-7, 12-14, 10-12, 11-6, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8).

Equally, in Rio de Janeiro Elmurod Kholikov had impressed.  He had beaten the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik (8-11, 11-2, 13-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9), prior to losing to Great Britain’s Liam Pitchford (11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4). In Doha, he tested the Iranian; Nima Alamian had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to secure victory (8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 13-11, 11-7).

It will be the second time when Nima Alamian has competed in the Olympic Games; he was present in Rio de Janeiro.

On that occasion, he beat Kanak Jha of the United States (11-3, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10), prior to experiencing defeat at the hands of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4).

Editor: Ian Marshall

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