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Chinese withdrawal won't hurt Australian Open on Gold Coast

30 June 2017

TABLE TENNIS: Many of the world’s top table tennis players will be arriving on the Gold Coast on Friday ahead of next week’s $500,000 Australian Open, the most lucrative event on the ITTF World Tour this year.

However there is one group who won’t be arriving, after it was announced the Chinese men’s team will not be travelling to Australia to compete because of an ongoing dispute between players and Chinese officials.

The issue flared at this month’s Chinese Open over a coaching issue, which resulted in some of the top male competitors refusing to play.

“It is unfortunate that the decision was made to withdraw the entire men’s team of Zhang Jike, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Yan An, Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan from the Australian Open, despite only two of the players (Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin) being involved in last week’s incident at the China Open,” the ITTF said in a statement.

“The Chinese women’s team, led by world number three Zhu Yuling will still be competing in the US$400,000 event being held in the Gold Coast, Australia.

“The men’s team cancellation is disappointing news for all table tennis fans around the world, however we can still all look forward to a world class event with many Olympic and world championship medalists, such as Jun Mizutani, Vladimir Samsonov, Chang Chih-Yuan, Feng Tianwei and Kasumi Ishikawa competing in Australia.”

The main draw for the Australian Open will be made on Saturday afternoon.

22 countries will be represented at the event, which is part of the ITTF’s prestigious World Tour. It’s the first time Australia has been included on the tour, and the biggest table tennis event to be held in Australia since the Sydney Olympics.

It’s expected to attract a global television audience of 80 million, and will be played at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre.

Australia will also be well represented at the event, with five-time Olympian Jian Fang Lay seeded 16th in the women’s draw, and Rio Olympian David Powell seeded 16th in the men’s draw.

Table Tennis Australia

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