The World Ranking list published immediately after the conclusion of the GAC GROUP 2011 World Table Tennis Championships confirms which players will gain the automatic qualification to London 2012 Olympic Games.
The top 28 world ranked players, with a maximum of two from any one National Olympic Committee, gain a direct entry to the Men’s and Women’s Singles events. The final decision is subject to the approval of a country’s National Olympic Committee.
In both the Men’s and Women’s Singles events in London, no former gold medallist appears amongst the direct entries as none are amongst the top two players from their country on the World Rankings issued by the International Table Tennis Federation on Monday 16th May.
The past Women’s Singles gold medallists – Chen Jing, Deng Yaping, Wang Nan, Zhang Yining – have all now retired from the international scene as have Yoo Nam Kyu, Jan-Ove Waldner, Liu Guoliang and Kong Linghui amongst past Men’s Singles gold medallists.
However, two former champions – Ryu Seung Min, Ma Lin – were both present at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam and both gave worthy performances, but neither departed with a singles medal and both may finish their careers like Yoo Nam Kyu as Olympic gold medallist but never Men’s Singles World Champion.
Ma Lin is the third ranked Chinese players on the men’s list; on the newly published rankings he retains his no.4 place behind Wang Hao, Timo Boll and Zhang Jike being ahead of Ma Long, Jun Mizutani, Xu Xin, Vladimir Samsonov, Wang Liqin and Joo Se Hyuk who complete the top ten.
The only change in the top ten is that Jun Mizutani and Xu Xin change places; the former is now at no.6, the latter at no.7.
It is a similar scenario for Ryu Seung Min; he stands at no.13 on the World Rankings, behind colleagues Joo Se Huk and Oh Sang Eun at no.11, just as on the previous list. China’s Chen Qi is at no.12.
There are three players who have secured direct entries and for whom the Olympic Games is becoming a holy grail, they were present in 1988 when table tennis was first introduced into the multi-sport quadrennial spectacular and they have been present ever since.
Expect to see Jörgen Persson, Jean-Michel Saive and Zoran Primorac in London. In their respective countries of Sweden, Belgium and Croatia, despite the fact that they are now eligible for veteran events, they are their country’s highest world ranked players.
The rest of the world best players will now have to compete in continental qualification events to ensure their place in the Olympic Games.
Click here to view an explanation of the qualification system
Courtesy Richard Pettit ITTF