Oceania Table Tennis Athletes continue to inspire others back home

Eight athletes from Australia, Fiji and Vanuatu represented Oceania Table Tennis at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The first day of competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games saw all Oceania Table Tennis athletes in the Men’s and Women’s Singles and Mixed Doubles events hit the court.

Sally Yee (FIJ) was the first to step into the limelight, after also competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Facing Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill, Sally found herself on the back foot from the beginning, despite a valiant effort in the second set, she was unable to threaten her opponent, and her Olympic campaign came to an end.

Chelsea EDGHILL (GUY) [WR 419] defeated Sally YEE (FIJ) [WR 242] 11-5, 4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (Preliminary Round)

Jian Fang Lay (AUS) lining up in her sixth Olympic Games – with her fifth appearance in the Women’s Singles event – brought in great experience on the international scene and was able to claim a strong win over Cuba’s Daniela Fonseca, claiming a straight four games victory. At the age of 48, Lay became only the second Australian athlete to compete in six Olympic Games, further cementing Jian Fang Lay as a legend of Oceania Table Tennis.

Jian Fang LAY (AUS) [WR 145] defeated Daniela FONSECA (CUB) [WR 288] 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 14-12 (Preliminary Round)

With Mixed Doubles debuting at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Australia’s pairing of Heming Hu and Melissa Tapper qualified as the highest world ranked mixed doubles pairing in Oceania. Heming and Melissa, both at their second Olympic Games, started slowly and were not able to gain control of the match, going down to the strong pairing of Emmanuel Lebesson and Jia Nan Yuan from France.

Emmanuel LEBESSON / Jia Nan YUAN (FRA) defeated Heming HU / Melissa TAPPER (AUS) 11-5, 11-9, 11-1, 11-0 (Round of 16)

Michelle Bromley (AUS), on debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, faced her first opponent in the Women’s Singles, Poland’s Natalia Partyka. Michelle could not get into the match, gave a strong performance in her first Olympic Games contest.

Natalia PARTYKA (POL) [WR 79] defeated Michelle BROMLEY (AUS) [WR 209] 11-3, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (Round 1)

Xin Yan (AUS), in his second Olympic Games, lined up against Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu in the first round. A slow start from Xin made the going tough, and although he fought hard, he was unable to claim the win, and his Men’s Singles event came to an end.

Ovidiu IONESCU (ROU) [WR 55] defeated Xin YAN (AUS) [WR 217] 11-7, 13-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6 (First Round)

Yoshua Shing (VAN), at his third Olympic Games, came up against the powerful Argentinian Horacio Cifuentes who was too tough an opponent. Yoshua was unable to trouble the scoreboard and his Olympic campaign came to an end.

Horacio CIFUENTES (ARG) [WR 73] defeated Yoshua SHING (VAN) [WR 248] 11-2, 11-5, 12-10, 11-6 (First Round)

Jian Fang Lay (AUS), returned to the table following her preliminary round win and was able to continue the form against Debora Vivarelli of Italy. Starting strongly, Jian won the first game of the match. Debora fought back winning the next game to tie the match. Jian composed herself and won the final three games to win the match to move into the second round of the Women’s Singles event.

Jian Fang LAY (AUS) [WR 145] defeated Debora VIVARELLI (ITA) [WR 71] 11-7, 5-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-2 (First Round)

David Powell (AUS), in his second Olympic Games, had a walkover in his first round Men’s Singles match against Czech Republic player Pavel Sirucek moving onto the second round. In David’s second round match, David came up against the strong Slovakian Yang Wang. David tried hard, however was unable to win a game.

Yang WANG (SVK) [WR 34] defeated David POWELL (AUS) [WR 239] 11-4, 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (Second Round)

Jian Fang Lay (AUS), returned to the table following her first-round win and performed well against a much higher ranked Qian Li of Poland. Starting strongly, Jian won the first two games of the match. Qian fought back though, winning the next two games to tie the match. Jian composed herself and won the final two games to win the match and move into the third round of the Women’s Singles event.

Jian Fang LAY (AUS) [WR 145] defeated Qian LI (POL) [WR 38] 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4 (Second Round)

Jian Fang Lay (AUS) returning to the table following her second-round win, was unable to continue her success against Ying Han of Germany. Although putting up a strong fight, Jian was unable to win the match and her run in the Women’s Singles event came to an end equaling her best finish at an Olympic Games in the third round.

Ying HAN (GER) [WR 20] defeated Jian Fang LAY (AUS) [WR 145] 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (Third Round)

With the Mixed Doubles and Singles events completed, it was time for the Team’s Events to commence. Oceania had one team competing in both the Men’s Team Event and Women’s Team Event. Australia qualified as the Oceania representative following their results at the 2019 ITTF-Oceania Olympic Team Qualification event. The Team Event is a straight knock out event with 16 teams in total.

Australia (Jian Fang Lay, Michelle Bromley and Melissa Tapper) faced Germany (Ying Han, Petrissa Solja and Xiaona Shan) in the first round. The opening match of doubles saw Petrissa Solja and Xiaona Shan account for Melissa Tapper and Michelle Bromley in three games. Ying Han had to fight hard to beat Oceania Champion Jian Fang Lay in 5 games and in the final singles match, Xiaona Shan played well to beat Michelle Bromley in 3 games. The Australians were unable to win the match bowing out of the Olympic Games.

Petrissa SOLJA / Xiaona SHAN (GER) defeated Melissa TAPPER / Michelle BROMLEY (AUS) 11-1, 11-5, 11-4

Ying HAN (GER) defeated Jian Fang LAY (AUS) 13-11, 9-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-2

Xiaona SHAN (GER) defeated Michelle BROMLEY (AUS) 11-2, 11-3, 11-9

The first round of the Men’s Team Event saw Australia face the home country Japan (Tomokazu Harimoto, Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa). Following the results from the singles event, Australia was looking to bounce back after not getting past the early rounds against higher ranked athletes.

Australia (Xin Yan, David Powell and Heming Hu) started as underdogs against Japan. Australia needed to get off to a good start in the Doubles match to put the pressure on Japan. Heming Hu paired up with Xin Yan against Koki Niwa and Jun Mizutani. After a nervous start, the Australian pair were unable to get on top going down 3 straight games to lose the doubles match. Japan’s number 1, Tomokazu Harimoto, played strongly to give Japan a two-match lead defeating David Powell in straight games. Jun Mizutani followed suit with a straight games victory over Xin Yan. Japan claimed the Team’s Match 3-0 and move onto the Quarter Finals.

Koki NIWA / Jun MIZUTANI (JPN) defeated Heming HU / Xin YAN (AUS) 11-7, 11-3, 11-8

Tomokazu HARIMOTO (JPN) defeated David POWELL (AUS) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7

Jun MIZUTANI (JPN) defeated Xin YAN (AUS) 11-4, 11-1, 11-9