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Olympic Games: Same again for Xu Xin

Wednesday 07 July

A place in the men’s team event in Rio de Janeiro but not in the men’s singles, Ma Long and Zhang Jike received the nod; for Xu Xin it is somewhat the same at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The men’s singles vote goes once again to Ma Long, Fan Zhendong claiming the further position; Xu Xin is listed in the team competition and in the mixed doubles alongside Liu Shiwen.

Play commences in the Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday 24th July.

Quite simply, the selection underlines the immense strength of China, in any other nation in the world he would command a men’s singles place; moreover, he would be a major contender for gold.

Xu Xin keeps the penhold grip style of play alive, but he is very different to all others and his predecessors who have adopted that method of holding a table tennis racket. He is not another Liu Guoliang, Ma Lin or Wang Hao, he is the first Xu Xin. Also, for those who follow, do not expect a second Xu Xin.

A long powerful forehand is very much his trademark as he buries the ball in the court surrounds, equally his sideways movement is dynamic but it his quality when playing over the table, close to the net, short returns, achieving angles that makes him somewhat special.

Thus, he is a precious commodity when doubles is the topic of conversation. If there is a perfect foil for the right handed attacking player, it is Xu Xin.

In the team event, a good start to settle the nerves essential; selecting Xu Xin means that China starts proceedings with world champions. He partnered Ma Long to gold in 2011 in Rotterdam, in 2017 in Düsseldorf he joined forces with Fan Zhendong to claim gold.

Equally, in the mixed doubles, it is very difficult to look beyond Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen; since the event was introduced to the ITTF World Tour in 2018, they have lost just one match, that being against Hong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem in 2018 when they met in the final in Busan.

Simply the record speaks for itself but one wonders with 21 year old, Wang Chuqin waiting in the wings, the current world men’s doubles champion in harness with Ma Long, will we see the now 30 year old Xu Xin in 2024 in Paris?  

Editor: Ian Marshall

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