Qualification for an Olympic Games is never an easy task, quite simply to reserve a place you have be a good player; however, for some gaining the valuable ticket is more straightforward than for others.
One player who did not endure the most exacting of routes is Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam; in fact, she was required to play just one match. The top seeds in the women’s event at the 2020 World Team Qualification tournament, staged some 18 months ago in the Gondomar, Portugal; in the one match required, against Belarus, Minnie Soo Wai Yam overcame the defensive skills of Viktoria Pavlovich.
In Tokyo, the 23 year old will compete in the women’s singles and alongside Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching in the women’s team; overall play commencing on Saturday 24th July.
Moreover, she will be making her debut in the prestigious multi-sport tournament.
She becomes the 14th player to represent Hong Kong in the women’s singles event at an Olympic Games; additionally, she maintains the tradition of ever presence.
• Hui So Hung – Seoul (1988)
• Mok Ka Sha – Seoul (1988)
• Chai Po Wah – Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996)
• Chan Tan Lui – Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996)
• Chan Suk Yuen – Barcelona (1992)
• Song Ah Sim – Sydney (2000)
• Wong Ching – Sydney (2000)
• Lau Sui Fei – Athens (2004), Beijing (2008)
• Lin Ling – Athens (2004), Beijing (2008)
• Tie Yana - Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2016)*
• Jiang Huajun – London (2012)
• Lee Ho Ching – London (2012)*, Rio de Janeiro (2016), Tokyo (2020)*
• Doo Hoi Kem – Rio de Janeiro (2016), Tokyo (2020)
• Minnie Soo Wai Yam – Tokyo (2020)
* Team event only
Perhaps the route to Tokyo was not that exacting but in Japan’s capital city it could be the reverse scenario in her opening match.
Detailed preparation but nothing compares with actually having played in the venue. Minnie Soo Wai Yam is the no.17 seed in the women’s singles event. It means she starts her quest in round two; more significantly it means she will meet a player, hungry to cause an upset and having played at least one match.
In a first Olympic Games venture that is no easy task, but Minnie Soo Wai Yam has underlined the fact she can cope with the big occasion.
Remember Friday 4th May at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad, at the semi-final stage, Hong Kong confronted China; in the opening encounter Minnie Soo Wai Yam faced a certain Ding Ning, at the time the reigning Olympic and World champion.
Relaxed, Minnie Soo Wai Yam afforded her illustrious counterpart just 20 points (11-7, 11-6, 11-7)!
Ready for Tokyo, surely Minnie Soo Wai Yam will relish the occasion.
Editor: Ian Marshall