by Wade Townsend
The Mixed Doubles event at the World Cadet Challenge is easily the most unique event on the global table tennis agenda.
Partners are chosen through a random draw, with the only caveat that partners cannot be from the same continental team. And that isn’t the only element of chance in the event. There are no seeds. The draw is completely random.
And did we mention the matches are best of three games? Mayhem can ensue, but it’s an exciting ride.
The event has produced some surprise medallists since its inception. Today Jiayi Zhou from Team Oceania partnered up with Asia’s Park Gyeongtae. In a match that captivated the entire stadium, Park and Zhou defeated Dario Arce and Natalia Brinza 14-12 in the deciding game.
“I was so nervous. My hand was shaking and the ball just shot off the bat.” Jiayi Zhou
Zhou and Park have now reserved themselves a place in the quarter final.
In previous two years of the World Cadet Challenge, Team Oceania has won themselves a bronze medal. Medals have been hard to come by for Oceania in other events. Will it be Zhou that completes the hat trick? Could she even go one step further?
The Mixed Doubles in Fiji certainly shows that some pairs are more than the some of their parts.
Check out the full results and draw for the Mixed Doubles here.