Sweden, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, France, Portugal secured Tokyo ticketsPhoto: Rémy Gros ITTF
2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament
Men’s Teams of Sweden, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, France, Portugal, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei, booked their place at the Olympic tournament in Japan after success in the Round of 16 of the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament in the Multiusos de Gondomar in Portugal.
Once again, Serbia was in charge for the biggest upset of the day. After success over Austria, they knocked down Hong Kong in another five matches thriller. Once again, Dimitrije LEVAJAC was the player who won the decisive fifth match. LEVAJAC, only 18 years old and listed at no.397 on the men’s world rankings prevails against 28 year Wong Chun Ting, ranked no.19 (11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6) to give Serbia, the no.27 seeds, a sensational 3-2 win against Hong Kong China, the no.10 seeds.
“I was a little afraid, but I managed not to think about it. I was only focused to put the ball on the table. Ball – table…that was in my mind. The atmosphere was great, I was driven by support from my coach, team and spectators. Everyone was by our side,” said LEVAJAC.
Croatia also found their way to the Olympics. They accounted for Great Britain in straight matches. Andrej GACINA was successful on both his exits to the table. With Frane KOJIC in doubles he overcame Samuel WALKER and Paul DRINKHALL and he also beat Paul in singles. Tomislav PUCAR succeeded against Liam PITCHFORD.
Team India’s men’s squad was one match ahead against Team Slovenia thanks to Sharath Kamal ACHANTA and Harmeet DESAI winning 3-0 versus Deni KOZUL and Bojan TOKIC, but that was the only point they have won. Darko JORGIC leveled with the straight games victory against Sathiyan GNANASEKARAN and he also scored in fourth match against Sharath Kamal ACHANTA. TOKIC won his singles match against Harmeet DESAI.
"It's the first time for me, I'm really happy! It was the team, all together, not just me. It’s just an amazing feeling and I'm looking forward to Tokyo and will try and win some games there too. Our leader, the oldest guy (TOKIC) was a little bit sick, so we changed. He said you're a better player, better ranking, and have more chances to win these matches. Yes I played really good, just an amazing feeling, " said JORGIC.
France beat Slovakia in straight matches, whilst Portugal gave home crowd good performance and crowned two days fights with the ticket for Tokyo. Tiago APLONIA, Joao MONTEIRO overcame Belgium’s Florent LAMBIET and Martin ALLEGRO; Marcos FREITAS beat Cedric NUYTINCK and MONTEIRO overcame ALLEGRO.