Winning formula, same again in Nanjing
A winning formula, the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games had been a success, for the second, in the Chinese city of Nanjing, it was understandably a similar format. A maximum of 32 players in each of the men’s and women’s singles, the same competitors forming 16 mixed pairs for the team event.
Play commenced with the individual events on Sunday 17th August, the medal matches staged on Wednesday 20th August, the day the team competition also commenced. Matters concluded on Saturday 23rd August.
The main factor was that the overall concept had been firmly established after just one gathering; table tennis was an integral sport in the itinerary, for young players the ultimate. Most notably, with the event being in China, there was an added significance, the sport was high in the pecking order, Chinese gold was expected.
It was a fact clearly witnessed in the local National Olympic Committee’s selection.
Fan Zhendong and Liu Gaoyang represented the hosts, their results underlining the fact that they had due claim to being regarded as their nation’s leading young players at the time. Amongst a host of most imposing performances, at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Hyderabad, Fan Zhendong had won the boys’ singles title after partnering Liu Gaoyang to mixed doubles gold. Earlier in the year Liu Gaoyang had secured a clean sweep of titles at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Puerto Rico, having in 2011 clinched the cadet girls’ singles title at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in New Delhi.
They duly responded winning the respective men’s and women’s singles event before reserving the top step of the mixed team podium.
Furthermore, as in Singapore it was success upon success for Asia; the only interlopers on that occasion had been Frenchman Simon Gauzy and Tunisia’s Adem Hmam. In Nanjing it was similar, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Lily Zhang of the United States secured bronze in the respective men’s and women’s singles event.
Otherwise, Asia emerged dominant, Japanese defender, Yuto Muramatsu concluded matter the men’s singles runner up, prior to joining forces with Miyu Jato to gain the same finish in the mixed team event. Two medals for Yuto Muramatsu, it was similar for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, women’s singles silver was followed by mixed team bronze in harness with Hung Ka Tak
Venue for the proceedings was the Wutaishan Sports Gymnasium, an area of some 46,000 square metres, located in the Wutaishan Sports Centre about 11 kilometres, 25 minute drive from the Youth Olympic Village. Built in 1953, the venue was also complex was also the host for football and basketball.
The premises proved ideal, the tournament had been organised in a smooth and efficient manner, Nanjing had delivered and had delivered in style.
Editor: Ian Marshall