21 Mar 2017

The last eight, farewell at the quarter-final stage; that has been the best for Hong Kong in the Women’s Singles event at an Olympic Games, climbing that one further step to compete in the rounds where medals are decided has always proved elusive.

Now at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which witnesses the start of play on Saturday 6th August, the task of breaking the hoodoo falls of young shoulders; those of 23 year old Lee Ho Ching and 19 year old Doo Hoi Kem.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Can they go one or more steps higher than their predecessors?

Beaten by Notable Names

Quarter-final exits but always it has been at the hands of most worthy adversaries as the round would suggest.

In Barcelona in 1992 Chai Po Wa was beaten by China’s Qiao Hong, in 1996 in Atlanta Chan Tan Lui experienced defeat when facing Chen Jing, on that occasion on duty for Chinese Taipei. Later in Athens in 2004 and four years later in Beijing it was a last eight farewell for Tie Yana. In Athens she was beaten by Kim Kyungah, in Beijing by China’s Wang Nan.

The Swansong

Tie Yana is on duty in Rio de Janeiro but only in the Women’s Team competition and surely for the now 37 year old mother, with the most fluent of backhand top spin stroke imaginable, it is farewell.

A total of nine Women’s Singles titles on the ITTF World Tour, commencing in 2002 in Gangneung City, Korea; Rio de Janeiro is her fourth consecutive appearance in an Olympic Games. Conversely for Doo Hoi Kem it is her first, for Lee Ho Ching her second, her debut being four years ago in London when she competed only in the Women’s Team event.

Both are players who have progressed through the highly developed Hong Kong coaching scheme, as opposed to the likes of Tie Yana, Jiang Huajun and Lin Ling who started their careers in China.

Four Years Later

Understandably Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching have experienced their ups and downs but when compared with four years ago, it has been notable overall progress. In August 2012 when London hosted the Olympic Games, Lee Ho Ching stood at no.24 on the Women’s World Rankings; Doo Hoi Kem was at no.163.

Four years later, Lee Ho Ching is at no.24, Doo Hoi Kem at no.22.

Furthermore, in the times since the world met in London, Doo Hoi Kem has already experienced success in the Olympic arena. At the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, she was the silver medallist in the Women’s Singles event, beaten by Liu Gaoyang in the final.

Repeat Performance Needed

A plus for Doo Hoi Kem but if she is to compete for a medal, it would seem that she must produce a performance that is equal or better than that at the ITTF-Asia Olympic Games Qualification Tournament held earlier this year in her native Hong Kong.

In her second match of the tournament in the Women’s Singles event, she beat China’s Liu Shiwen. In her second match in the Women’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in order to progress to the last eight and match her predecessors, she may well have to beat Liu Shiwen’s colleague, Ding Ning, the top seed and reigning World champion.

Doo Hoi Kem, the no.13 seed, appears in the same quarter of the draw as Ding Ning; the seeding suggests that she must beat Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.23 seed, whilst Ding Ning must overcome Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.18 seed, if they are to meet.

Previous Meetings

Will it happen? Ding Ning and Elizabeta Samara have met three times on the international scene, the first being at the World Junior Championships in Linz in 2005.

History heavily favours Ding Ning; the situation with regards to Doo Hoi Kem and Georgina Pota is rather more intriguing. They met earlier this year on the ITTF World Tour in Hungary, Doo Hoi Kem won in seven games.

Similar Situation

Not the best of draws for Doo Hoi Kem; it is exactly the same for Lee Ho Ching, the no.15 seed and thus also a direct entry to round three.

According to status she may meet Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko, the no.26 seed, in round three, who must first of all negotiate her was past either the Czech Republic’s Iveta Vacenovska or Colombia’s Lady Ruano.

Now should the adversary be Tetyana Bilenko that could be a problem from Doo Hoi Kem; they met at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships, Tetyana Bilenko won in three straight games.

Defending Champion Awaits

Succeed in round three and in the fourth round should matters go according to plan, China’s Li Xiaoxia, the no.3 seed and reigning Olympic champion awaits.

Can either Doo Hoi Kem or Lee Ho Ching surpass the quarter-final efforts of Chan Tan Lui, Chai Po Wa or Tie Yana?

Surely if they can match the efforts of their illustrious predecessors they deserve a medal!

Rio 2016 Rio Women's News Doo Hoi Kem Lee Ho Ching Tie Yana

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