Zhang Jike Gets the Opportunity to Defend Olympic TitlePhoto: Courtesy ITTF
After years of speculation, ZHANG Jike has been given his chance to defend his Olympic title after he wasconfirmedtoday to play singles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The current world number four, who has lost several high profile matches recently will be joined by the world number one and reigning World Champion MA Long in the singles event, where only two players per NOC can compete.
As announced by the Chinese Table Tennis Association, word number three XU Xin will join ZHANG Jike and MA Long in the teams event, which means world number two FAN Zhendong misses out altogether.
World champion DING Ning has been given the chance to avenge her painful loss to LI Xiaoxia in the London 2012 Olympic Games final, after they were both confirmed for the women's singles event in Rio.
Despite ranking first on the world ranking, the current ITTF Female Table Tennis Star LIU Shiwen missed out on singles selection, and will have to settle for playing in the team event in Rio.
Japan, who will be one of the biggest challengers to China for all the medals available in Rio, have confirmed a strong team and will be represented by Ai FUKAHARA & Kasumi ISHIKAWA in the women's singles and Jun MIZUTANI & Koki NIWA in the men's singles event.
The Olympic Games Table Tennis event will take place on 6-17 August 2016 at Riocentro Pavilion 3 and there will be four medals on offer: men's singles, women's singles, men's teams and women's teams.
The next step of the Table Tennis Olympic Qualification process is that the ITTF will inform all the NOCs that have qualified a team, on 21 May. The NOCs must then confirm if they will be taking their team allocation and inform the ITTF the third player who will play in the team latest by 6 June 2016.