Tag Archives: men's table tennis

Top Stars Cruise Into Quarter-Finals At China National Games

Top stars in both the men’s and women’s singles events at the China National Games took care of business in the round of 16.

In the men’s singles event, Wang Chuqin went the distance against Xu Yubing, winning 11-9 in the seventh game. After the match, Wang said that it was better to go through these challenges now in the domestic competition rather than the international competition. Other big names such as Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Zhou Qihao, and Liang Jingkun had an easier time, winning their round of 16 matches in four or five games.

In the women’s singles event, the eight quarterfinalists are also the eight women at this tournament with the highest World Ranking (note Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling did not play the tournament due to retirement and injury respectively). Among the four members of the Tokyo Olympic team, only Wang Manyu had to play more five games as she notched a 4-2 victory over Liu Fei.

After the match, Wang noted that playing choppers is actually quite physically tiring, and she also had to play a chopper earlier in the team event as well. She remarked that one of the difficulties in playing Liu Fei was that some balls that look like they’re floating out tend to end up landing on the baseline.

Liu Shiwen, Chen Meng, and Xu Xin all noted that everyone is very familiar with each other at this tournament. In particular, this is Xu’s third time playing Zhou Yu in the China National Games spanning across 12 years. Xu said while a lot has changed between them, including their emotional makeup, their desire to win is still the same. Xu is soaking in the moment a bit as he gets older and he has to invest more energy into his family rather than playing. However, for this tournament he feels like he is locked in and playing well.

Liu Shiwen echoed similar sentiments about treasuring the moment and simply wanting to play one more match as she gets older. Liu stated that it was good to be back, as this was essentially her first real tournament in a year and a half. Liu noted that her 4-0 victory over Gu Yuting was still a challenge, since they are familiar with each other. In particular, Liu was able to eke out two close victories in the first two games, after which she felt Gu’s level of play dropped as Liu took the third and fourth game 11-7.

Sun Yingsha received a brief early scare as she was leading in the first game but lost six straight points. Sun stated that she was happy that she was able to regroup, and that the quality of play would only increase going further into the tournament as everyone appears to be playing at their peak condition. She also had praise for her round of 16 opponent Zhang Chi, noting Zhang’s heavy spin and ability to get her opponent stuck.

Scores and draw for the men’s singles event are available here. Scores and draws for the women’s singles event are available here.

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WTT Star Contender Doha (Sep 20-25) Men’s Singles Draws and Results

The draw and results of the round of 16 onwards of the men’s singles event at WTT Star Contender Doha (September 20-25, 2021). Notable omissions are Dimitrij Ovtcharov (upset by Cho Seungmin) and Jang Woojin (upset by Benedek Olah). Note that our coverage of this event is limited, as we are mainly watching the concurrent China National Games.

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China National Games Table Tennis Men’s Singles Draw and Results

The final 16 of the table tennis men’s singles event at the China National Games has been set. Draws and results are posted below. Notable omissions include Ma Long (withdrew) and Lin Gaoyuan (upset by Zhang Yudong in Round of 32)。

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Lucky Fan Zhendong Saves Six Match Points to Defeat Ma Long at China National Games

Down 10-6 in the deciding fifth game, Fan Zhendong needed a huge break to come back and defeat Ma Long in the men’s team final at the China National Games. He received exactly that as he won four net balls in the last eight points of the match and saved five match points, taking the game 13-11 and the match 11-7, 8-11, 7-11, 12-10, 13-11. Combined with a missed step-around forehand kill while up 10-9 and 2-1 in games, Ma ended up failing to convert on all six of his match points.

The quality of play appeared to be quite low during the first couple games, but both players seemed to take safer shots in the last game and a half, resulting in several longer exciting rallies. Having just peaked for the Olympics and then undergone a strict quarantine upon returning to China, neither player may have been in top shape, and Ma went as far as to pull out of the men’s singles event due to injury maintenance. Additionally, all players at the tournament appeared to struggle adapting to the increased elevation of more than 1000 meters in Shanxi.

Fan’s 3-2 victory over Ma sealed Fan’s Team Guangdong a 3-1 victory over Ma’s Team Beijing 3-1 in the gold medal match of the team event at the China National Games. In the first match of the team match-up, Fan first defeated Beijing’s Wang Chuqin 3-0. Ma Long leveled the score to 1-1 with a 3-0 victory over Guangdong’s Zhou Qihao, but Guandong took a 2-1 lead as Guandong’s Lin Gaoyuan defeated Beijing’s Yan An 3-1. Fan’s 3-2 win against Ma gave Guandong the win and the gold medal.

Given that Ma will not play in the men’s singles event, table tennis fans will need to wait until the World Championships in November to see the next chapter of the Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong rivalry.

The full match can be watched on 247 Table Tennis and Malong Fanmade’s Youtube Channels.

Game 1

The match started out with two missed short flicks from Ma followed by a missed short flick by Fan. Fan then hit several winners while Ma’s backhand appeared to be a bit off as one backhand roll hit the edge of his paddle and another roll dribbled straight down into his side of the table, giving a Fan an early 7-3. Ma was able to narrow the lead down to 9-7 with several big forehands, but he then pushed a serve return into the net, giving Fan a 10-7 lead. Fan then won another backhand-backhand rally to take the first game 11-7.

Game 2

The relatively low quality of play continued into game 2. Fan built an early 5-2 lead, with both of Ma’s points coming from errors from Fan, including another strange point where the ball appeared to dribble off Fan’s backhand straight into his side the table. Fan’s backhand then appeared to completely abandon him as he missed a combinations of backhand blocks, counters, pushes, and openings to allow Ma to go on a 9-3 run and win the second game 11-8.

Game 3

Fan’s backhand continued to fail him in game 3. He lost a backhand-backhand rally and missed a long backhand opening to dig himself into an early 4-1 hole. Ma was able to extend the lead to 6-2 thanks to a pretty chop block and another high push from Fan. Fan was able to level the score to 7-7, but two of the five points he scored in his comeback were due to pretty fast counters, and the remaining three were due to errors from Ma as Fan’s signature backhand roll continued to be non-existent.

Fan then missed a short backhand opening, missed a backhand block, lost a backhand-backhand battle, and then missed another backhand opening to drop four straight points to give Ma the third game 11-7.

Game 4

The fourth game opened with more errors as Ma and Fan each missed two backhand openings in the first eight points. However, despite the errors, Fan’s backhand seemed to be in slightly better form compared to earlier as he was able to land just enough openings and counters to build an early 5-4 lead. Ma then landed two big forehand kills to take a 6-5 lead, prompting Fan to call time-out.

Fan tied it up at 6-6 with a fast down-the-line backhand block after Ma stepped around, but he again yielded the lead with a missed backhand opening against a long serve. Fan was able to get in a small rhythm as he won three straight points off of two pretty rallies and a quality down-the-line backhand opening to go up 9-7.

Ma responded with a run of his own as he landed a big forehand kill and won a very long backhand-backhand rally to level it at 9-9. Ma then landed an ambitious chop block to take match point at 10-9. Fan pushed the ball slightly high but wide to Ma’s backhand on the next point, and Ma’s attempt at a step around kill sailed long to level it at 10-10.

Fan then landed another quality down-the-line backhand opening against the serve to go up 11-10, and in the next point the ball dribbled straight down off Ma’s racquet in the middle of a rally again as Fan took the fourth game 12-10.

Game 5

Both players appeared to be completely in rhythm as game five treated the audience to a series of long rallies. Ma won four straight points early in the game thanks to a series of ambitious step-around forehand kills to take a 7-2 lead. Fan responded with a couple of nice points of his own, but he made several pushing errors as Ma was able to maintain a 10-6 lead for quadruple match point.

With the match almost out of sight, Fan started taking some extremely ambitious shots that all landed as he came leveled the score to 10-10. Fan missed an opening to give Ma his sixth match point at 11-10, but Fan won an ensuing pretty backhand rally to level the score at 11-11 before taking the match at 13-11. 

However, arguably the biggest key to Fan’s comeback was his extremely lucky break: Fan caught four net balls in the last eight points of the match. Coupled with a couple risky shots from Fan that panned out, Ma has to be shaking his head at how this match ended.

Check out video hilights below. Footage courtesy of Malong Fanmade Channel:

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China National Games Table Tennis Commences

The group stage in the table tennis team event has started at the 2021 China National Games. No major upsets have occurred so far as the top stars all won their matches. Fan Zhendong, Ma Long, and Wang Chuqin all dropped the first game of their first match, and Ma Long was pushed to five games, but they all eventually came out on top. On the women’s side, Wang Manyu also went five games with Yang Yiyun, but the top female stars also mostly prevailed. Other Olympic stars such as Xu Xin, Liu Shiwen, Chen Meng, and Sun Yingsha all cruised to victories in their individual matches..

The group stage consists of four groups (two groups of four and two groups of five). After the group stage action finishes, in the men’s team event Guangzhou (Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan, and Zhou Qihao) is considered to be a favorite, and Beijing (Ma Long, Wang Chuqin, and Xu Chenhao) will also be a strong contender.

Day one indeed seems to be quite un-newsworthy, as one of the bigger headlines was Ma Long not being able to find his way to the locker room as he walked into a locked door:

However, while the results may not have been newsworthy, the table tennis action was certainly worth a watch. As usual, full matches can be found on the 247 Table Tennis Youtube channel. Check out this pretty point from Wang Chuqin:

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How Armpit Space Affects The Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong Rivalry

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The Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong rivalry stands as perhaps the most compelling narrative in professional table tennis right now as the rest of the world struggles to keep up with them when it matters. Since the pandemic, Ma and Fan have both played in the 2020 China National Games, the 2020 World Cup, the 2020 ITTF Grand Tour Finals, and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and they have reached the finals in all four events (granted, no other Chinese players played the World Cup or Olympics).

Fan and Ma will both play the China National Games later this month and the World Championships in November. Although the Chinese Olympic Scrimmages saw Fan and Ma fall to some younger players, given their established dominance in high-stakes matches, there is a solid chance that Ma and Fan both make it to the finals in at least one of the two events.

Since the pandemic the two players have gone 2-2 against each other, with Ma winning by far the most important match in the Olympic finals. In this post we take a look at how a difference in armpit space between the two players’ strokes influences the game dynamics.

Comparing the Elbow

In the short clip below of Ma and Fan warming up together, you can see a slight difference in how high they raise their elbows when executing a standard backhand counter. Fan opens up his armpit more and raises his elbow slightly higher, while Ma tends to tuck his elbow a little bit lower in.

This difference in principle should give Fan the advantage when transitioning between forehands and backhands as his racquet is already where it needs to be with a slight turn of the body. On the other hand, Ma carries the slight advantage when stepping around as he requires slightly less space to pull off a forehand. We see an exaggeration of Ma’s preference for the middle and Fan’s preference for the corner in the two points shown blow.

This dynamic results in several tactical consequences.

Ma Targets Fan’s Elbow

Based on Fan’s weakest point, the middle, Ma’s placement strategy is quite straightforward: Ma overwhelmingly targets Fan’s elbow in the rallies, both in the opening and the follow-up shots. In the clip video, Ma wins four straight points targeting Fan’s elbow on every single shot.

How Ma Escapes the Backhand-Backhand Battles

Fan’s placement strategy to Ma is a little more involved. Both Ma and Fan know that, even if Ma places the ball well, Fan is favored to win pure backhand-backhand rallies between the two players due to several factors including stylistic difference brought about by the difference in armpit space in their neutral position. Hence, the burden is on Ma to step around and get out of the backhand-backhand battles to take his signature big forehand.

Stepping Around In the Flow of the Rally

Some variation of backhand-backhand battle ends up occurring in most of the points between Fan and Ma, so one of the key tug-a-wars in their matches is to see how often Ma can step around in the rally, and how often Fan is able to burn him for stepping around too early.

In their World Cup match-up, Coach Deng Yaping commented that although Ma clearly must hunt the forehand, he psychologically must also have confidence to engage in backhand-backhand battles. If he does not have confidence in his backhand and only looks to step around all the time, then Fan will beat him even more badly at the backhand-backhand battle and burn him down-the-line for stepping around early. Instead, Ma is at his best when he engages in the backhand-backhand battles but takes the big forehands when the chance comes like in the point below.

Fan’s job is to not let Ma rip forehands on him all day, so if Ma telegraphs early that he is going to step around, then Fan can burn him with a down-the-line roll for a clean winner like in the point shown below. Hence, in every match between the two, Fan is almost always the first player to go down-the-line to the forehand in the rallies.

Stepping Around in Anticipation

It is quite obvious that Ma needs to step around after he sees the ball come to his elbow or that Fan needs to go down-the-line if he sees Ma telegraphing that he will step around. However, both players also tend to try to squeeze a few extra points by anticipating their opponent’s actions and acting early. This can occur as early as the opening, before the rally has gotten into a rhythm.

While this yields great dividends if the player anticipates correctly, it also results in getting burned quite badly if he guesses wrong. In the point below, Ma serves half-long side-spin wide to the backhand and anticipates that Fan will go cross to the backhand. However, Ma guesses wrong as Fan burns him with a down-the-line opening for a clean winner.

Similarly, Fan does not appear to always go down-the-line in response to what he sees from Ma. If he anticipates that Ma is looking to step around, he may go down-the-line as early as the opening. However, if he guesses wrong like in the two points below, then Ma is perfectly in position for a big forehand kill.

While it looks embarrassing when they guess wrong, both players are betting on the fact that they can anticipate their opponent often enough that in the aggregate they come out on top from acting early. Furthermore, for Fan his down-the-line openings also serve as a deterrent for Ma to step around early all the time.

Ma’s Famous Chop Blocks

Another way that Ma mixes things up and escapes the fast-paced backhand rallies is with his signature chop-block.

Of course, the chop block is a difficult shot that requires an insane amount of touch, but his tucked in elbow also makes it easier for him to get his racquet onto the left-side of the ball and chop the ball forward. The chop block is just anothhe difference in how high Ma and Fan raise their elbows likely ends up affecting almost every shot in the game in one way or another.

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Timo Boll Talks About Chinese Table Tennis and More

Timo Boll recently did an interview with Chinese state media on Chinese table tennis and left the door open for a possible return to the Olympics in Paris 2024. A transcript of his responses is provided below.

I played against a log of generations. I played against Kong Linghui, Liu Guoliang, Ma Lin, Wang Liqin, Zhang Jike, Ma Long, now the young guys Wang Chuqin. It’s crazy to look back now most of them, they are coaches.

How do you play against top Chinese players?

You cannot play just one strategy against the Chinese players, because they are smart, they have perfect techniques, so somehow you have to surprise them with every single shot to get them out of balance. It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult.

Ma Lin, he was a tough opponent, he played really smart and somehow “ugly”. His style was very unusual for us Europeans. He found always good strategy against me. I had only two or three wins against him.

Also Fan Zhendong now is difficult for me to play because he plays a little bit the same style like me, but just a bit better and everything, because he’s more powerful and more physically stronger.

What are the differences between Chinese and European table tennis?

European players start a bit later profesionally. In China, a lot of players they practice nearly three times a day when they are eight, nine years old. I think the Chinese stop a little bit earlier, because they develop physical problems earlier. On the one hand, there are not so many strong young players in Europe like in China, we have to admit that.

Why are the Chinese so strong?

Tee main reason I think it’s the perfect sport system for table tennis. It’s a technical sport and you need to start early. You need a technique from the beginning. All of that you can have in China. You can start early, they have good talent-scouting, and they have good coaches already for young players, and they can practice a lot when they are young, hours and hours. These are already a lot of reasons to become a good player.

When they are all good players, they practice often together, that’s also something that helps if you always practice against the best players in the world, you compete and you get better and better and better. And also the young players, they can profit from that.

Are you going to play in the Paris Olympics?

I see a lot of other sportsmen now like Roger Federer who is also 40 and he has a lot of problems, so it’s also hard for him to plan for Paris. He would be happy to go on playing. I did that for all my life, so it would be hard to stop like immediately because of one injury. I hope I will find the right time to stop table tennis, but it’s not now.

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Chinese National Team Emphasizes Youth To Finish 2021

Chinese National Team coaches Li Sun and Qin Zhijian recently outlined their plans for the second half of 2021 as they keep an eye out for the 2024 Paris Olympics. In particular, they are looking for young players to fill the void that will be left by Xu Xin and Ma Long when they likely retire or decline before the next Olympics. Although the women’s team is relatively younger, Li still hopes there will be new younger players to push and challenge them during the China National Games and Super League this year. The coaches also explained their decision to withdraw from the Asian Championships as a result of a combination of the pandemic, the weak competition, and the lack of stakes involved.

A translation of a full media report is provided below.

The Chinese Table Tennis Association recently announced that it will not participate in the Asian Championships to be started in Qatar at the end of September. Both the men’s and women’s team coaches Qin Zhijian and Li Yan said that the team’s key tasks in the second half of the year are the National Games, the Super League and the World Championships, with the World Championships being the top priority. They hope that more outstanding young players will emerge through the games and lay a solid foundation for preparing for the Paris Olympic cycle.


Xu Xin won three gold medals in the 2019 Asian Championships. Image source: ITTF official Weibo

The Asian Championships do more harm than good

From September 28th to October 5th, the 2021 Asian Championships will be held in Qatar. The coaching staff of the national table tennis team decided that the “catch the field” competition would do more harm than good, so they decided not to go as a team.

According to the national table tennis arrangement, the Tokyo Olympic Games players will return to the provincial team after the isolation period. After a short period of preparation, they will participate in the National Games table tennis competition in Xi’an from September 17th to 26th. The Asian Championships opened on September 28, and the time between the two matches was very short, and it was difficult for the national table tennis to arrive at the venue as scheduled.

At the same time, according to our national defense policy, if players participate in the Asian Championships, they will have to be quarantined for 21 to 28 days after returning home. This is very detrimental to the players’ maintenance, especially the progress and growth of young players. Qin Zhijian said that usually athletes need one or two months to recover after a long period of isolation. In addition, the level and antagonism of the Asian Championships are not as strong as those of the National Games.

In addition, the global epidemic situation is also an important reason why National Table Tennis decided to abandon the Asian Championships. Li Sun said frankly that the current risk of infection in international travel is still very high, and “safety first” should be ensured. Moreover, the main role of the Asian Championships is to win the “tickets” for the World Table Tennis Championships next year. As the host, China has already been shortlisted, so the impact of not participating in the competition is not significant.


Liu Shiwen won the women’s singles championship at the 2019 World Championships. Image source: ITTF official Weibo

The World Championship is the “ultimate goal”

According to Qin Zhijian, in addition to the National Games, the National Ping Pong will also participate in the Ping Pong Super League and individual World Championships in the second half of the year, and the latter is regarded as the “ultimate goal” of the team in the second half of the year. Abandoning the Asian Championships is also a decision made by the National Table Tennis Team after considering the overall rhythm of the second half of the year.

This year’s World Table Tennis Championships is scheduled to be held in Houston, USA from November 23 to 29. It is the most important task for the national table tennis team in the second half of the year. The World Table Tennis Championships are usually held in the spring of each year, and the current competition is postponed until the end of the year due to the epidemic, which poses a new challenge for the preparation of national table tennis. “After playing a big game like the Olympics, the athletes and coaches need to adjust their minds and bodies, and the entire team also needs to alternate between the old and the new. After the previous Olympics, there will be no major competitions in the second half of the year, so this kind of rhythmic team has never experienced it. “Qin Zhijian said.

Before the World Championships, China National Table Tennis is also facing two major domestic events, the National Games and the Table Tennis Super League. Qin Zhijian said that the 4-year National Games is the highest level event in the country, and all local teams attach great importance to it. The October league also carries the role of discovering rookies and laying the foundation for the new cycle. The two competitions are about to enter the closed preparations for the World Table Tennis Championships. Time is still very tight, so the arrangements need to be targeted.”

Li Sun also said that Guoping should focus on me and maintain its own rhythm. “You can’t play in every game. You must be focused.”


In the men’s singles final of the Tokyo Olympics, Ma Long defeated Fan Zhendong to defend his title. Image source: “Ping Pong World” magazine

I hope young people will show up

At the Tokyo Olympics, the Chinese women’s table tennis team realized a “reign change”. The three players who won gold medals in their first Olympic games are expected to play again in Paris; the men’s team has not yet completed the transition between the new and the old, and the two Rio Olympic cycle veterans who helped the team win the championship are still in battle. In the middle, Fan Zhendong still failed to pass the “big mountain” of Malone in the singles arena.

When talking about expectations for the second half of the year, Qin Zhijian said that he hopes that the men’s team will better complete the transition from new to old and lay a solid foundation for the next two Olympic cycles. “The Paris Olympic cycle is also very special, one year less than the previous one. So. I hope that through the National Games and the Table Tennis Super League, including preparations and competitions for the World Championships, more outstanding young players will emerge.”

Li Sun is not satisfied with the existing “golden lineup”. He said that healthy competition has always been the magic weapon for China’s ping pong ball. “The women’s team now has four Olympic champions, but I hope that in the second half of the year, Everyone can compete again, and more young athletes will challenge the four of them.”

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Jeoung Youngsik Withdraws From 2021 Korean National Team

Korean media has reported that Jeoung Youngsik (WR 13) has withdrawn from the Korean National Team for the remainder of 2021, meaning he will not play in the upcoming WTT event in Doha in September or the World Championships in November. The stated reason for the withdrawal is to give the younger players a chance.

Korean Table Tennis Executive director Kim Taek-Soo hinted at a disappointing performance by Jeoung at Tokyo as a reason for the withdrawal, but on the surface Jeoung’s results at Tokyo appear to be quite decent. Jeoung outperformed his seeding in the men’s singles event by defeating Timo Boll in the round of 16 before losing to Fan Zhendong 4-0 in the quarter-finals. Jeoung also won all his singles matches in the team event, including a 3-0 win over Koki Niwa in the bronze medal match. However, Jeoung lost both his doubles matches in the bronze medal match and the semi-finals, and he did not play singles against China.

Given Jeoung’s performance at the Olympics, it is possible that Kim’s comments hint that merely beating the non-Chinese competition and getting crushed by the Chinese is not a satisfactory result, and that Korea is setting its ambitions on defeating China.

A translation of the full article is provided below:

Veteran table tennis star Jung Young-sik (29, Mirae Asset Securities) made a big concession. He announced that he would temporarily suspend his national team activities, saying, “I will give my juniors a chance.” He also expressed his intention to return with a new image next year.

Jung Young-sik recently sent a long message to the executives and leaders of the Korea Table Tennis Association, saying that he would not participate in the September Asian Table Tennis Championships (September 28-10.5, Doha, Qatar) and the November World Table Tennis Championships (November 23-11.29, Houston, USA). He has already received automatic qualification for two tournaments as he is ranked second in the world rankings in Korea.

In this regard, Kim Taek-soo, executive director of the Korea Table Tennis Association, who is the head coach of the team under Jeong Young-sik, said in a phone call with Sports Seoul, “Jung Young-sik was chosen as a recommended player for the Tokyo Olympics, and I have felt a lot of pressure from people around me talking about it. It was even more difficult because the results at the Olympics were not good,” he explained.

Jung Young-sik

Executive Director Kim continued, “Jung Young-sik received an automatic entry to the remaining two international competitions this year, adding to the psychological and physical pressure. So, for the sake of Korean table tennis, for the sake of our juniors, I will make concessions this time,” and “I will improve physically and technically and become the national representative fairly from next year,” he said.

At the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Jung Young-sik placed third behind Lee Sang-soo (31, Samsung Life Insurance) and Ahn Jae-hyun (22, Samsung Life Insurance) in the qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games earlier this year, but overtook Ahn Jae-hyun, who placed 2nd place, to get the right to participate in the Olympics as a recommended athlete. He also participated in the men’s singles event. However, the Korean men’s team failed to win medals in the individual and team events.

Jung Young-sik was suddenly removed from the national team, so some changes are inevitable in the Korean team’s entry for this year’s international competition. In particular, Jung Young-sik and Lee Sang-soo, who have been working together for a long time in men’s doubles, suffered a lot of damage.

In this regard, the Table Tennis Association held the Performance Improvement Committee (Chairperson Kim Taek-su) again on the 23rd and decided to send Seung-min Cho (23, Armed Forces Athletic Corps) to the Asian Championships and Min-ha Hwang (22, Mirae Asset Securities) to the World Championships as a substitute for Jung Young-sik in the men’s singles.

There was a change in men’s doubles and mixed doubles. At the Asian Championships, Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim and Jaehyun Ahn and Seungmin Cho were selected for the men’s doubles, and Jun Jihee and Yubin Shin, Hyojoo Choi and Shion Choi were selected in the women’s doubles, and Woojin Jang and Jeon Jihee and Ahn Jaehyun and Yubin Shin were selected for the mixed doubles event. At the World Championships, Jang Woo-jin and Im Jong-hoon, Ahn Jae-hyun and Cho Dae-seong, Jeon Ji-hee-Shin Yu-bin and Choi Hyo-joo-Lee Si-on in the men’s doubles, and Jang Woo-jin-Jeon Ji-hee and Cho Dae-seong-Shin Yu-bin in the mixed doubles.

Regarding the subtraction of Lee Sang-soo, Jeon Ji-hee’s partner, from mixed doubles, Kim Taek-soo said, “I was looking forward to it, but the result was disappointing. It was decided by the performance improvement committee to give a new change.”

The men’s singles members participating in the World Championships in November were finally confirmed as five men, including Woojin Jang (Mirae Asset Securities), Sangsu Lee, Jonghoon Lim (KGC Ginseng Corporation), Jaehyun Ahn, and Minha Hwang, who obtained automatic entry rights. Woman Jeon Jihee (POSCO Energy), Suh Hyo-won (Korea Racing Association), Shin Yubin (KAL), Choi Hyojoo (Samsung Life), 5 people including Lee Zion (Samsung Life).

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Liu Guoliang Looks Forward After China Wins Olympic Men’s Team Gold

Although Germany sounded optimistic going into their match with China, China defeated Germany 3-0 to sweep their way through the team events. Neither the Chinese men’s or women’s team dropped a single individual match en route to winning gold in both genders.

However, Ovtcharov gave China a brief scare when he took a 2-1 lead against Fan Zhendong, but Fan was able to stay calm and come back. As Liu Guoliang later remarked, if Ovtcharov had won that, then it would have been 1-1, which would have put China in an uncomfortable position. Based on Liu’s remarks, Fan will almost certainly be back in 2024 as a veteran presence.

Liu Guoliang already has his eyes set towards the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. He stated that while the women’s team is in a position of dominance given the youth of Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the men’s team will need to make some adjustments heading into the next Olympic cycle as Ma Long and Xu Xin age into retirement.

Liu in particular praised Sun Yingsha as an idol and role model for the next generation not just in table tennis but all of Chinese athletics. He also praised Chen Meng’s dominance in winning two gold at this Olympic Games, hinting that she may be back for the 2024 Olympics at the age of 31.

Liu also acknowledged the veteran presence of Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning and the impact they have had on the National Team culture. He praised Liu for the journey she took recovering from elbow surgery last Fall, and said although they obviously would rather have won gold in mixed doubles, there is not much to regret since she came out, performed, and gave it her all.

Liu also reflected on his own journey in table tennis, noting that it was his seventh Olympic games. He quipped that when he was a player, he felt that being a player was the most stressful job. Then he became a coach and realized being a coach was the most stressful job. Then he became head coach and then director of the Chinese National Team, and each time he realized that the job was even more stressful.

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and follow Edges and Nets on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated. Check out the rest of our Olympic coverage.

If you are based in the United States, be sure to also check out our exclusive interview with Kanak Jha and a tournament that Edges and Nets will participate in hosting in San Diego in mid-August.

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