European Olympic Singles Qualification | 20 Aug 2014
FAN Zhendong moves closer to goal
World number three, FAN Zhendong (CHN), is halfway to achieving his goal of winning consecutive Youth Olympic and Olympic golds after becoming the men’s Youth Olympic Games singles champion today in Nanjing, China. The senior world number three teen
World number three, FAN Zhendong (CHN), is halfway to achieving his goal of winning consecutive Youth Olympic and Olympic golds after becoming the men’s Youth Olympic Games singles champion today in Nanjing, China.
The senior world number three teenage sensation beat Yuto MURAMATSU (JPN), who was the only defender in the competition, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 to become the second Youth Olympic Champion.
FAN, who is already an ITTF World Team Champion stated after the match: “This was an amazing victory for me. I am extremely proud. I now need to work very hard to achieve my goal of Rio 2016 gold. This would be a dream come true to be the first ever player to have both Youth Olympic and Olympic gold medals and I think I can do it! The Youth Olympic Games have been a once in a lifetime experience. I have really enjoyed it. I am very lucky to be here.”
It was double gold for China, as LIU Gaoyang clinched the women’s title by defeating the number one seed DOO Hoi Kem (HKG) 11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 11-1, 11-3 in front of a crowd in excess of 4,000.
LIU, who won silver at last years ITTF World Junior Championship stated: “I’ve been under a lot of pressure here in Nanjing and winning today is more a sense of relief than anything else. I was very proud standing up on the podium singing the Chinese National anthem. It is a real boost to my career.”
There was history made in both the men’s and women’s bronze medal play offs, with Latin America and North America winning their first ever table tennis Olympic medals, which portrays the global strength of Table Tennis.
Brazil’s Hugo CALDERANO defeated YANG Heng-Wei (TPE) 11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10 to win the men’s bronze to confirm rise of the Latin American continent.
The 18-year-old from Rio de Janiro stated: “I am so happy, it was a very hard match. I can’t explain how emotional and proud I am to win the first ever table tennis Olympic medal for Latin America. I hope my successful can help push table tennis in the continent even further.”
United States Lily ZHANG was equally excited about her 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 victory over KATO Miyu (JPN) to win the groundbreaking bronze medal: “I wanted this medal so much, not just for me, but for my country. I had to keep myself calm before the match and try not to think about it too much. I was even more determined to win the medal, as my roommate came home last night with a silver. I feel like I am floating I am that ecstatic.”
Focus now turns to the mixed teams event, which consists of one boy and one girl who have qualified for the singles event. Teams can be composed of players from different NOCs where only boy or girl qualified in singles. The mixed teams gold medal match will be played on Saturday 23 August 2014.