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Ma Long left out as China announces entries for table tennis men's singles category for Paris Olympics 2024

Published at :May 7, 2024 at 7:12 PM
Modified at :May 7, 2024 at 7:12 PM
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(Courtesy : X/@WTTGlobal)

Shashank Tripathi

Ma Long won’t be defending his Olympic gold medal at the 2024 Paris Games.

Team China has announced WR1 Wang Chuqin and WR2 Fan Zhendong as their two entries in the main draw of the men’s singles category for the upcoming Paris Olympics 2024.

Wang Chuqin will be making his Olympic debut this year as he was selected as an alternate by the Chinese team in the 2020 Tokyo Games. In the same year, he was defeated by Fan Zhendong in the semi-final of the Chinese Olympic Scrimmage. However, Chuqin gave a stellar performance at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, where he won four gold medals.

Wang Chuqin is currently ranked No. #1 in the ITTF Table Tennis Ranking. Meanwhile, Fan Zhendong, who won the silver medal in the men’s singles category, in Tokyo, is currently ranked #2 in the world. Additionally, the two stars have also started playing together in men’s doubles.

However, with the selection of Wang Chuqin and Fan Zhendong, the name of Chinese table tennis veteran Ma Long has been overlooked. Ma long made his Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games, where he won the gold medal in the men’s team event. His first singles Olympic gold came at the 2016 Rio Games after he defeated countryman Zhang Jike 4-0.

At the 2024 Macao World Cup, Ma Long won the men’s singles title after he defeated Wang Chuqin in the semifinals and Lin Gaoyuan in the final. Ma Long is currently No. #3 in the ITTF Table Tennis Ranking and he’s also the defining Olympic champion in the men’s singles category.

However, the 35-year-old will not have an opportunity to defend his title at the 2024 Paris Games. It seems like the Asian country is looking forward to giving a chance to the younger paddlers, who have the potential to carry the Chinese legacy in the game forward.

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On the other side, Indian table tennis star Manika Batra scripted history at the 2024 Saudi Smash after she defeated World No. 2 Wang Manyu in the round of 32 on Monday, May 7.

The Mixed doubles pair of Harmeet Desai and Yashaswini Ghorpade also stunned the fifth-seeded Spanish pair of Alvaro Robles and Maria Xiao 3-2 to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. Moreover, Ayhika and Sutirtha Mukherjee also defeated Egypt’s Mariam and Marwa Alhodaby to book a berth in the round of 16. 

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