by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, for the majority the target is different; in true Olympic spirit it is the taking part that counts, a place in the main draw is success in itself and should that precious place result in meeting with a former or reigning champion; then the reward is equivalent to podium place.
In each of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, 32 places are available for those required to compete in the qualification stage; both events require a group phase followed by a preliminary round. In the former 210 players vie for the precious places; in the latter it is 157 in number.
Overall, 64 players are seeded in each of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events; a further 32 players gain direct entries, thus making a total of 94 players who are not required to compete in the initial phase.
A similar policy is followed in the Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events but with qualification on the knock-out basis. In each event there are 32 seeded pairs plus 16 pairs by direct entry.
Thus with a total entry of 136 pairs in the Men’s Doubles event, 88 pairs must compete in the qualification stage; in the Women’s Doubles where there are 114 pairs entered, 66 pairs are in qualification phase action. Meanwhile, for the Mixed Doubles, 103 pairs must fight for the 16 available places. A total of 103 pairs has entered the Mixed Doubles competition.
In all three doubles events it will be necessary to negotiate two rounds to advance to the main draw and potentially it could be three.
On Saturday 27th May, the draw for the 32 seeded pairs in the Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events will be made; also in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles competitions, the draw for players seeded no.17 to no.64 will be completed.
Later, the following day on Sunday 28th May, the draw for players seeded no.1 to no.16 in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be concluded.
Once the qualification matches have ended on Tuesday 31st May, the 32 qualifiers plus the 32 direct entries in each of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be drawn at random into the 64 vacant main draw places. Similarly, in the Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events, the 16 pairs who have qualified and the 16 pairs who received direct entry will be drawn into the 32 vacant positions.
In the qualification stage and in the opening round of the main draw there is separation by association.