by Ian Marshall, Editor
Notably, it is a very different selection from the team of four years ago at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea Republic; Fan Zhendong is the only player who retains his place. Furthermore, in Incheon, just as was to be the situation two years later at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he was resigned to the bench time and again. The preferred selection was Ma Long, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike.
The omissions of Ma Long and Xu Xin are somewhat of a surprise; the fact that Zhang Jike does not appear on the list, is less unexpected. In 2014 when the Games were staged in Incheon, he was the incumbent Olympic and World champion; now those titles have been relinquished and recent results have not reached the level of once capable.
China occupies the top seeded position in the draw with Japan, Korea Republic and Chinese Taipei completing the top four names.
Similar to China, the Japanese selection raises eyebrows; there is no Jun Mizutani or Tomokazu Harimoto in the squad, the latter on duty at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open. Kenta Matsudaira leads the line; he is supported by Masataka Morizono, Jin Ueda and Masaki Yoshida.
Meanwhile for Korea Republic, the runners up four years ago when selecting Joo Saehyuk, Lee Jungwoo and Jeong Sangeun for the title deciding clash against China, the outfit is very much as expected. Lee Sangsu, Jeoung Youngsik and Jang Woojin line up alongside Lim Jonghoon and Kim Donghyun. The only name to slightly raise the eyebrows is that of Kim Donghyun being preferred to Jeong Sangeun. Earlier this year he was on duty at the 2018 Team World Cup in London.
Similarly, the Chinese Taipei squad is very much as anticipated with the supremely talented 17 year old Lin Yu-Ju included in the selection. He lines up alongside Chuang Chih-Yuan, a player 20 years his senior; Chen Chien-An, Lee Chia-Sheng and Liao Chen-Ting complete the selection.
All are major challengers for a podium finish as is Hong Kong, the fifth seeds; they select from Wong Chun Ting, Ho Kwan Kit, Jiang Tianyi, Ng Pak Nam and Lam Sui Hang. Most certainly they need Wong Chun Ting to be firing on all cylinders as does India in the guise of Sharath Kamal Achanta.
Commonwealth Games gold medallists earlier this year in April, Sharath Kamal Achanta is supported by Amalraj Anthony, Harmeet Desai, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and 18 year old Manav Vikash Thakkar. Notably, there is no place for Sanil Shetty.
Outsiders for honours but capable on the day of causing an upset; it is the same for Iran and DPR Korea who complete the top eight seeds.
Iran selects from Noshad Alimiyan, Nima Alamian, Afshin Noroozi and Amin Ahmadian who, on the sixth day of play, will celebrate his 17th birthday. Meanwhile for DPR Korea, the selection reads An Ji Song, Choe Il, Ham Yu Song, Pak Sin Hyok and Ri Kwang Myong.
The Men’s Team event concludes on Tuesday 28th August; the individual events commence on Wednesday 29th August.
Schedule, Entries, Seeding, Results
2018 Asian Games: Schedule of Play
2018 Asian Games: Entries – Overall