Matiss Burgis in form in Doha
Photo By: Adel Hakouz
Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament
Runner up in 2007 in the Junior Boys’ Singles event at the French Junior and Cadet Open, now 22 years old, Latvia’s Matiss Burgis can start to make preparations to travel to London later this year.
Subject to official confirmation and ratification by the Latvian National Olympic Committee, the victory recorded against the Czech Republic’s Dmitrij Prokopcov on the afternoon of Sunday 13th May 2012, has gained the young man from the Baltic States a place in the Men’s Singles event at 2012 Olympic Games.
He beat Dmitrij Prokopcov in six games (11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10).
The win means that Matiss Burgis will finish no lower than 10th place in Doha; currently all the indications are that ten male places for London exist at the Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha.
Victory for Mattis Burgis in the eighth to twelfth place duel, means that he will become the first ever table tennis player from Latvia to compete in an Olympic Games.
Second from Baltic States
Furthermore he will become only the second ever male table tennis player from one of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania – and only the fourth overall to compete in an Olympic Games.
The one other male player is Estonia’s Igor Solopov; the stalwart defender possibly best remembered for beating Jean-Philippe Gatien in the Men’s Singles event at the 1994 European Championships in Birmingham. At the time the Frenchman was the reigning World champion.
Emulate Igor Solopov?
Now if Matiss Burgis can emulate Igor Solopov in the ExCel Arena in July and beat Zhang Jike, that will be some win.
Two men are now on the list of table tennis male Baltic States Olympians, following the efforts of Matiss Burgis in Doha and that matches the women.
It also means all four Baltic countries can now boast Olympic table tennis players; the two ladies are both from Lithuania.
In 1996 in Atlanta, four years later in Sydney and more recently in 2008 in Beijing, Jolanta Paskauskiene was in duty, whilst in 2000 Jolanta Prusiene gained Olympic recognition.
Success for Ukraine
Success for Matiss Burgis and in the counterpart contest, for what would seem the last London places, there was success for Yaroslav Zhmundenko of Ukraine.
He beat a dispirited Konstantinos Papageorgiou of Greece in four straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7).
Wins for Matiss Burgis and for Yaroslav Zhmudenko; in the duels for the top four places it was victory for Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.1 seed and Spain’s Carlos Machado.
Meanwhile, in the battles for positions six to eight Croatia’s Andrej Gacina and Turkey’s Bora Vang emerged victories.
In the penultimate round, Tiago Apolonia beat Poland’s Wang Zeng Yi (9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3, 14-12, 11-9) and Carlos Machado overcame Ukraine’s Oleksandr Didukh (6-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-5).
In a somewhat similar manner, Andrej Gacina accounted for Italy’s Mihai Bobocica (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 15-13) and Bora Vang defeated Denmark’s Allan Bentsen (11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-4, 12-10, 12-10).