Table Tennis: Asian Athletes Book Their Spots After Asian Qualification Tournament

13 nations qualified athletes at the end of the 2016 Asian Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament. In total 11 quotas for each gender were available for single players. In the first stage players were divided into their five regions (West Asia, Middle Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia) where a single elimination tournament was played with the winner qualifying to the Olympics. The second stage combined all of the unqualified athletes into four brackets where a single elimination tournament was played. The winner of the four brackets qualified to the Olympics while the runner-up played the runner-up of another bracket. The two winners also qualified to the Olympics. The Asian Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Hong Kong, China from April 13th to April 17th 2016.

Qatar’s Ping Li was the top athlete from West Asia where he defeated Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad in the final 4-0. The women’s quota went to Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian whom defeated her compatriot Malak Khory in the final 4-2.

Middle Asia was won by Iran in both genders. Despite being down 1-3 against Uzbekistan’s Olga Kim Iran’s Neda Shahsavari won the next three sets to win the match in a 4-3 upset. On the men’s side the final came down to two brothers from Iran with Nima Alamian defeating his brother Noshad 4-2.

South Asia only had a single nation competing in both tournaments, India. All that was left to decide was which athlete would book its spot to the Olympics. Due to each tournament only containing four players a round robin was played instead of a single elimination tournament. The women’s tournament was won by top seed Manika Batra though she did suffer a shock 4-2 loss to Pooja Sahasrabudhe along the way. There was an upset in the men’s tournament as top seed Sharath Achanta lost two matches. The winner of the tournament was second seed Soumyajit Ghosh.

The Southeast Asia tournaments were dominated by regional powerhouse Singapore. In fact between the two tournaments seven out of the eight semi-finalists were from Singapore. The winner of the men’s tournament was Chen Feng whom defeated his compatriot Li Hu 4-2 in the final. On the women’s side Singapore’s Feng Tianwei defeated her compatriot Yu Mengyu 4-0 in the final.

Considered to be the strongest region it was China whom won the two East Asia tournaments. The winner of the men’s tournament was Ma Long whom defeated his compatriot Fan Zhendong 4-1. The women’s tournament was won by Li Xiaoxia whom defeated Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa in a 4-0 sweep.

While the second stage was to include the top two (or one should a nation already qualify one) athletes who haven’t qualified from each nation many athletes withdrew from the competition due to mathematically being already qualified to the Olympics through the World Rankings. This allowed several lower qualified athletes to secure their spot to the Olympics.

On the men’s side Draw A was won by Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko whom caused an upset against Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, winning 4-0. Draw B had India’s Sharath Achanta completing a comeback against Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan going from 1-3 to winning 4-3. Draw C was won by Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An whom defeated Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul 4-2. Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit won Draw D by defeating Uzbekistan’s Zokhid Kenjaev 4-1. For the final two quotas the losing finalists went up against each other with Alamiyan defeating Jiang 4-1 and Kenjaev defeating Tanviriyavechakul in a close 4-3 match.

For the women’s side it was North Korea and Thailand which won two of the four draws each. North Korea’s Ri Myong Sun defeated India’s Mouma Das 4-0 while her compatriot, Kim Song I defeated Indonesia’s Lilis Indriani 4-0. Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut defeated Uzbekistan’s Rimma Gufranova 4-0 while her compatriot, Nanthana Komwong defeated Philippines’ Ian Lariba in a close 4-3 match. For the final two quotas the losing finalists went up against each other with Das defeating Gufranova 4-1 and Lariba defeating Indriani 4-0.

Athletes from Asia will have one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics with the publication of the World Rankings in the coming weeks. Since so many top athletes withdrew from the second stage many of them will be booking their spot through that pathway.

 

Quotas by Nations

  • India – 4
  • Iran – 3
  • China – 2
  • North Korea – 2
  • Singapore – 2
  • Thailand – 2
  • Chinese Taipei – 1
  • Hong Kong – 1
  • Kazakhstan – 1
  • Lebanon – 1
  • Philippines – 1
  • Qatar – 1
  • Uzbekistan – 1

 

References

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