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Olympic Games: Mongolia makes debut

Friday 16 July

Landlocked in East Asia between Russia and China, in Tokyo, Mongolia the most sparsely populated nation in the world, makes its debut in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games.

Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat and Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh will compete in the respective men’s singles and women’s singles events in the Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Presently, Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat has no world ranking, Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh is named at no.508 on the women’s list; Tokyo places having been secured at the Asian Qualification tournament staged earlier this year in March in Doha.

Both will no doubt be on duty on the opening day of action, Saturday 24th July, competing in the early rounds.

Succeeding in the East Asia Regional event, colleagues provided the opposition in the vital matches; Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat beat Munkhzorig Jargalsaikhan (11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7), Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh overcame Doljinzu Batbayar (11-9, 17-15, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9).

Both Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat and Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh have international experience, but both have yet to make their mark when opposing foreign adversaries.

Notably they are from different generations, Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat is 33 years old, Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh is 18 years of age, her debut at a major international tournament being at the 2017 Asian Championships staged in the Chinese city of Wuxi. For Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat it was the turn of the century, he competed in the 2000 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

Since those dates, Lkhagrasuren Enkhbat competed in 2014 in Tokyo and 2016 in Kuala Lumpur at the World Team Championships, as well as more recently at the Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh was on duty at the Asian Junior Championships in 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw and in 2019 on home soil in Ulanbaataar. Similarly, she competed in the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest and later in the year in the Asian Championships in Yogyakarta.

Additionally, she was present in 2018 at the ITTF Challenge Series tournament in Pyongyang.

The entry of Mongolia means that in the table tennis events, 11 National Olympic Committees from Asia will be represented in Tokyo; overall, commencing in 1988 in Seoul, a total of 26 National Olympic Committees from the continent will have competed.

Editor: Ian Marshall

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