21 Mar 2017

Rio 2016 is finally upon us, and with Table Tennis featuring on the opening day, here is your guide to the Olympic structure of the sport.

by Simon Daish

Rio 2016 Table Tennis Events

The Olympic Table Tennis competition consists of four categories: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Team and Women’s Team. 70 players will participate in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, with 16 nations competing in the Men’s and Women’s Team categories.

Singles Competition

Both the Men’s and Women’s Singles tournaments will consist of a knockout (single elimination) format, starting with a preliminary round (conditional) followed by round one (16 matches), round two (16 matches), round three (16 matches), round four (eight matches), quarter-finals (four matches), semi-finals, the bronze medal match and the final.

Every match is played under a best of seven games format, with each game being the first to 11 points unless both players sit level on double digits – in this case it is the first player to pull out a two point gap to their opponent.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov will represent Germany at Rio 2016

Players ranked 33rd to the total number of participants will enter the Singles events at the preliminary stages and round one, with seeds 17-32 starting in round two. The top 16 seeded players enter at round three.

The two players to win their semi-finals encounters will progress through to the final, with the two defeated players facing each other in the bronze medal match.

Team Competition

Teams will be made up of three players, with the exception of injury, illness or disqualification when two players can be fielded instead. If a player pulls out due to any of the above circumstances, the player’s match will be forfeited but the player can participate in subsequent matches for the team unless unable to continue, which will then give the team the option of using two players.

Each team match is made up of five individual ties and will end when either side has won three matches. Unlike the singles events, team matches are played in a best of five games format.

The order of a team match is as follows: two singles matches, a doubles match and, if neither side has won the tie by this point, a maximum of two extra singles matches are played.

Mima Ito (left) and Ai Fukuhara – set to be Japan’s doubles pairing in the Women’s Team event?

Nominated team captains will select the two players from their squad to play the opening two singles matches, with a third player coming in for the doubles, partnering either one of the two singles players. If necessary the remaining singles ties will be played in a way to ensure each player takes part in a maximum of two matches.

Like the Men’s and Women’s Singles competitions, the Men’s and Women’s Team events will follow a knockout format. Again the two winning teams from the semi-finals will move into the final, with the two defeated teams playing in the bronze medal match.

Watch the Olympic Table Tennis live HERE, or visit the Official Rio 2016 Table Tennis page.

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