Table tennis team go down fighting
14 August 2016
TABLE TENNIS: Australia’s table tennis campaign at the Rio Olympics has ended with the men’s team of David Powell, Heming Hu and Chris Yan defeated 0-3 by a slick sixth-seeded Hong Kong.
Despite their best efforts, the Aussies couldn’t gain any momentum or find an obvious chink in Hong Kong’s game plan, with the green and gold succumbing to a lead of 10 points in one game.
Powell was first out of the blocks for Australia, meeting Peng Tang – No. 15 in the world – and the result showed the difference in experience and ranking.
Powell was able to draw even in the early stages of sets one and two, but Tang had his measure for 80 per cent of the match.
The second singles match between Yan and Chun Ting Wong was equally fated.
Yan managed to achieve a one-point advantage halfway through the second set, but in the end Wong’s pace and consistency overcome the 27-year-old from New South Wales.
In the doubles, Heming Hu made his Olympic debut for Australia, pairing up with Yan to battle Wong and Kwan Kit Ho.
With a lively match between Poland and Japan happening at the other end of Riocentro Pavilion 2 drawing the attention and encouragement of the crowd, it was a challenging scenario for the Australians.
Earlier in the campaign coach Jens Lang said the team was proud to play for Australia at Olympic level.
“We want to represent Australia as best as possible so we’re taking this very, very seriously,” Lang said.
“In the end we’re here as one massive big team, we’re there for each other.”
For a young team on debut, it was a big ask to front up against a clearly professional Hong Kong side.
However, the opportunity to play on the world stage will be invaluable experience to take into future tournaments.
D Powell v P Tang: 7-11, 8-11, 1-11
C Yan v CT Wong: 7-11, 6-11, 2-11
H Hu/C Yan v KK Ho/CT Wong: 2-11, 5-11, 6-11