A total of 36 men’s and women’s singles players each and 16 mixed doubles pairs are competing for slots on the Chinese Olympic-bound team as the World Table Tennis Grand Smashes Trials and Olympic Simulation got underway here on Tuesday.
This is the last opportunity for the paddlers to book Tokyo Olympic slots in the sport, reports Xinhua.
“We are not just aiming to win here, but to win big, since we take this competition as a trial for the Olympics and have set a high standard for ourselves,” women’s singles and mixed doubles world champion Liu Shiwen said after easing past the first round partnering Xu Xin.
“The Olympic table tennis mixed doubles event allows only one pair from each association in Tokyo. If Liu and I come out as the only pair to represent China at the Olympics, there is no room for mistakes,” echoed Xu.
The 2019 Budapest world champions face challenges from younger teammates like Liang Jingkun/Sun Yingsha and Wang Chuqin/Wang Manyu, who also won their respective first matches on Monday.
Liu Guoliang, president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, expects a real test at the trials.
“Hopefully the trials will motivate the players to unleash their competitiveness, so as to test our Olympic squad,” Liu said.