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December club makes August mark

Sunday 15 August

Gold, that is the ultimate target; silver and bronze are massive achievements but for the majority of players it is a question of making a mark, displaying the fact that on the biggest stage of all you can compete.

The Olympic Games is the ultimate. Trying in the mind to possess the fact it is just another tournament, just another opponent, no different to any other occasion, may be the advice afforded but responding to the situation, feeling at home in the environment, as well as raising your game a few degrees, is easier said than done.

However, three young men in the guise of Singapore’s Clarence Chew, Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko and Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang, provided plenty of evidence that they can compete in the big time and are players of whom we should take note as we move ever closer to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Could their performances in Tokyo be just the confidence boost they need?

Lam Siu Hang was the pick of the bunch.

Occupying the no.50 seeded position, in the opening round he beat Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.48 seed (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 12-14, 11-8), before in the second round causing an even greater upset by overcoming India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.26 seed (11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6).

Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.3 seed, ended progress in five games, the eventual score line much closer than at first may appear; the four games lost were determined by the minimal two point margin (11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10).

An Olympic Games debut for Lam Siu Hang, it was the same for Clarence Chew. The no.57 seed, in the opening round he beat Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw, the no.43 seed (11-4, 4-11, 11-3, 13-11, 3-11, 12-10), before Austria’s Daniel Habesohn, the no.32 seed, halted adventures (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10).

Impressive first appearances, it was slightly different for Kirill Gerassimenko; he had played in Rio de Janeiro, losing to Hungary’s Adam Pattantyus (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9); in Tokyo he broke the ice, in his opening match, the no.34 seed, he overcame the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik, the no.41 seed (3-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 11-9, 11-4), prior to experiencing defeat when facing Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.8 seed (7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2, 11-1).

Three players to impress in Tokyo, the common factor and there is one more; all have December birthdays.

Clarence Chew was born in 1995, Kirill Gerassimenko and Lam Siu Hang in 1996.

Editor: Ian Marshall

Photo Credit: ITTF


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