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Olympic Games: aiming to take Kazakhstan to even greater heights

Thursday 24 June

An appearance in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, not only was it a debut for Kirill Gerassimenko; it was the first in the table tennis events at the quadrennial spectacular.

Kirill Gerassimenko spearheading Kazakhstan

Once again, the now 24 year old will be on duty in Tokyo, play in the men’s singles event commencing on Saturday 24th July.

However, it was only by the skin of his teeth and in Japan’s capital city, he will be seeking to improve on the effort in the Brazilian city and much more recently in Doha.

In Rio de Janeiro he was beaten in his opening match by Adam Pattantyus (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9), the defensive style of the Hungarian, somewhat alien.

Earlier this year in Doha at the World Qualification Tournament in Doha, he was beaten in his initial encounter by the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik (11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).

Immediately following, in the Asia Qualification Tournament, competing in the Central Asia regional event, the news was little better. In the group phase he accounted for Uzbekistan’s Elmurod Kholikov (11-3, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4), followed by success in opposition to Iran’s Nima Alamian (14-12, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4).

A place in the semi-finals, alas it was defeat at the hands of Zokhid Kenjaev (11-7, 12-14, 10-12, 11-6, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8).

It was his world ranking, currently listed at no.46 that saved the day; in fact, he gained the last possible place.

The task is to recreate the form witnessed on the ITTF World Tour and at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, before the pandemic halted international excursions.

On the ITTF World Tour in 2016 he reached the semi-final round of the under 21 men’s singles title in Austria, he repeated the feat one year later, as well as winning in Hungary.

Additionally, in men’s singles events at Challenge Series events, in 2017 he reached the semi-final round in Poland, the following year the same in Thailand, before in early 2020 winning in Spain.

Kirill Gerassimenko has displayed the fact that he can succeed in highly competitive tournaments; now can he perform on the biggest stage of all, the Olympic Games, and take Kazakhstan to even greater heights?

Editor: Ian Marshall

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