The top 16 men and women seeds of the Rio 2016 Olympic table tennis event officially started their quest for the Olympic medals today, 07 August 2016, facing the challenge of the 16 players qualified from the initial rounds and it did not all go to plan.
Korea DPR’s KIM Song I caused one of the biggest upsets at the Rio 2016 table tennis event by eliminating fourth seeded Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN) to make her way through to the top 16 of the Women’s Singles event.
Facing one of the best female table tennis players in the world, the 21-year-old was fearless and stood firm on the court to challenge the world number four. Despite losing the first two games, KIM was quick to get back on her feet to gain control of the match, prevailing 4-3 (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9).
The seven games thriller that excited the local crowd in Riocentro Pavilion 3 did not went smoothly, with ISHIKAWA attempting to call for an injury time-out for a cramp which was denied as it is not considered an injury.
“It was just a cramp but I never had a cramp in any matches ever, so I’m very upset. I played very well in beginning but I got so exhausted because there was too much moving around. It’s a shame thatmy physical strength couldn’t keep up,” shared the London 2012 team silver medalist who couldn’t contain her disappointment. “Today is my mom’s birthday and I had wanted to celebrate her with my win today.”
2014 Male Table Tennis Star Quadri ARUNA (NGR) put the crowd into further shock as he played the match of his life to knock out world number seven CHUANG Chih-Yuan (TPE) out of the Men’s Singles event, dominating 4-0 (11-6, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7).
“Last time I played Chuang Chih-Yuan was earlier this year on the ITTF World Tour in Germany, where I lost in four straight games, my goal today was to improve on that performance and fight to win one game!” stated a pleased ARUNA. “After I won the first game I became more confident. This is the best moment of my life and my career.””
Local hero Hugo CALDERANO kept the host nation’s hopes for an Olympic medal high, by defeating world number 15 TANG Peng (HKG) in front of possibly the loudest crowd that a table tennis event has ever witnessed.
CALDERANO, who made history at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games to win the first Olympic table tennis medal for Latin America, overcame TANG Peng 4-2 (8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10, 11-7) in front of a sellout crowd of over 6,000 passionate fans.
Whilst seeds crumbled around them, top seeds MA Long (CHN) and DING Ning (CHN) dominated the court, beating Jonathan GROTH (DEN) and Elizabeta SAMARA (ROU) 4-0 respectively.