Qualifiers For London In The Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament

Qualifiers for London in the Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament
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Efforts were paid off for some players at the Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament, mainly for Tiago Apolonia. After suffering a meniscus injury, the Portuguese player recovered and booked a ticket to London eventually. However, Apolonia didn't celebrate alone because Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Ukraine, Denmark and Turkey will be also present at the Olympic Games.

Olympic route came to end for some players and continues for others. Tiago Apolonia secured a place at the Olympic Games after beating Ukraine's Lei Kou in six games. The Portuguese player had to undergo a meniscus surgery in March, so he missed the World Team Championship in Dortmund and didn't arrived in good form to the European Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Luxemburg. However, Apolonia didn't give up and booked a ticket to London in Qatar. Apolonia's qualification wasn't a surprise because he as well as their European counterparts have dominated the whole tournament.

Other players who reached quarterfinals and qualified to London are Italy's Mihai Bobocica, Poland's Zeng Wang, Croatia's Andrej Gacina, Ukraine's Oleksandr Didukh, Denmark's Allan Bentsen, Turkey's Bora Vang and Spain's Carlos Machado, who beat Paul Drinkhall in a thrilling match. However, these player must be confirmed by their National Olympic  Committee.

Players who lost in the last sixteen round still have chances to be in London because ITTF informed that probably ten and not just eight places are available to the Olympics.

On the other hand, women secured their participation in London after progressing to semifinals. Sweden's Matilda Ekholm overcame Hong Kong's Lee Ho Ching and got the first ticket to London. The Swede was followed by Spain's Galia Dvorak, who went to great lengths to beat Russia's Yana Noskova and booked a place in London. Happiness didn't end for Spain as Sara Ramirez fought back and stood victorious over Portugal's Lei Huang Mendes in a close match. The last player who qualified to London was Czech Republic's Dana Hadacova by defeating Anna Tikhomirova in a very close match.

In the case of the women competition, there are six places available to London but they could turn into eight.

The tournament hasn't been exempt from surprises. Experienced Petr Korbel suffered defeat at hands of Great Britain's Andrew Baggaley in the first round and will miss his first Olympic Games in two decades. Emmanuel Lebesson and Simon Gauzy are also player, who will miss the biggest sport event in the world.  The Olympic route for Janos Jakab, Dimitrij Prokopcov, Wu Chih Chi and Sharath Kamal Ashanta also came to an end in Qatar.

In the women event, experience didn't work for Tamara Boros, Elena Timina, Nikoleta Stefanova and Petra Lovas and are out of the Olympics. Raising star Bernardette Szocs failed in her attempt to qualify to her first ever Olympic Games and won't be able to join Elizabeta Samara and Daniela Dodean in London.

Photo and info. source: Portuguese Table Tennis Federation's Facebook web page -

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Hiroji Satoh of Japan was the first player to win a WTTC using covered thick sponge

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