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TABLE TENNIS/Taiwan clinches Paris Olympic spots in four table tennis events

02/22/2024 05:50 PM
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Taiwanese veteran table tennis player Cheng I-ching (in blue) competes in the women's group event at Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 2, 2021. CNA file photo
Taiwanese veteran table tennis player Cheng I-ching (in blue) competes in the women's group event at Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 2, 2021. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) Taiwan secured berths in four table tennis events at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris on Wednesday following victories at the 2024 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals in Busan, South Korea.

Although the women's team lost to Team Hong Kong 3-2 in the quarterfinals on Thursday, they secured their spot in Paris this summer with a 3-1 win over Team India one day earlier, joined by the men's team after a 3-2 comeback victory over Team Sweden in the Round of 16 for their second win of the day.

Wednesday's wins not only saw Taiwan claim Olympic spots in the men's and women's team categories but also earned them two berths each in the singles events.

After world No. 41 Chen Szu-yu (陳思羽) lost to world No. 36 Manika Batra, Taiwan won three matches in a row, including two by 32-year-old veteran Cheng I-ching (鄭怡靜), the country's best female paddler.

Cheng, ranked world No. 10, won the second and fourth matches with a 6-1 combined record. Li Yu-jhun (李昱諄) also contributed with a 3-1 victory against Ayhika Mukherjee.

Cheng won another two matches again on Thursday to remain undefeated in the tourney, though the team was knocked out after Chen and Li lost three matches combined.

Taiwanese table tennis player Lin Yun-ju competes during the Tokyo Olympics on July 29, 2021. CNA file photo
Taiwanese table tennis player Lin Yun-ju competes during the Tokyo Olympics on July 29, 2021. CNA file photo

Meanwhile, Taiwan's male paddlers reached the quarterfinals after sweeping Serbia 3-0 and overhauling Sweden 3-2 later the same day, courtesy of a strong outing by world No. 8 Lin Yun-ju (林昀儒).

The 22-year-old "Silent Assassin" helped his team tie Sweden twice with two sweeps in the second and fourth matches, giving Kao Cheng-jui (高承睿) a chance to take down Mattias Falck 3-0 in the rubber match.

Lin held a 7-1 record as of Thursday, and the team is slated to vie for a semifinal spot against Team Germany at 5 p.m. Friday.

Table tennis is the eighth sport in which Taiwanese athletes will compete in the Paris Olympics. The others are shooting, swimming, athletics, boxing, canoe sprint, archery and taekwondo.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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