The flame may have been extinguished at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it doesn’t seem long since that act took place in Rio de Janeiro and London; moreover, we are less three years away from lighting the torch in Paris.
Make a note in your diary, the planned date for the opening ceremony in the Stade de France for the 2024 Olympic Games is Friday 26th July, table tennis amongst the 32 sports on view.
Who could make a major impact following evidence gleaned in Tokyo?
Could one major factor to be considered, the ability in the Metropolitan Gymnasium to experience defeat and then return stronger.
Top of the list is Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Jun but both Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin are very strong contenders.
All experienced men’s singles defeats, later in the men’s team event all performed most admirably.
Titanic contests were the order of the day for Lin Yun-Ju; at the semi-final stage of the men’s singles, he was beaten by China’s Fan Zhendong, a contest rated in some eyes as one of the best, if not the best ever, witnessed on the international stage (6-11, 11-9, 14-12, 13-15, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8).
Contesting the bronze medal, he experienced defeat in another classic; facing Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, he held four match points in the sixth game, before suffering a narrow defeat in the seventh (11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 13-15, 11-7).
It was a harsh lesson for Lin Yun-Ju, but he recovered. In the men’s team event he remained unbeaten, notably against Germany in a 3-2 quarter-final defeat, he accounted for both Dimitrij Ovtcharov (10-12, 14-12, 11-7, 12-14, 11-7) and Patrick Franziska (11-9, 13-11, 11-6).
Meanwhile, Tomokazu Harimoto experienced a somewhat unexpected fourth round men’s singles reverse when confronting Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic (10-12, 11-9, 11-3, 10-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Like Lin Yun-Ju, he remained unbeaten in the men’s team competition. Notably, against Sweden, he beat Mattias Falck (12-10, 11-5, 11-6), before at the semi-final stage when opposing Germany, he accounted for Dimitrij Ovtcharov (7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-9) and Patrick Franziska (5-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9).
Similarly, Jang Woojin departed proceedings in the men’s singles fourth round at the hands of Brazil’s Hugo Calderano (11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6); a result as status advised, Hugo Calderano was the no.4 seed, Jang Woojin the no.9 seed.
Later at the quarter-final stage of the men’s team event, Jang Woojin extracted revenge, he prevailed in straight games (11-6, 11-8, 12-10).
Names to note for Paris, Tokyo suggests without doubt.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: ITTF