by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
The team inspired by their young prodigy, Lin Yun-Ju, gave an inkling of their capabilities at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Drawn in group A alongside China and Nigeria, they lost to the Chinese in their opening group match but fought like wounded lions against the African champions to sail through to the second round.
They were humbled 3-0 by China. A convincing win by Lin Yun-Ju over Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun (11-7, 11-7, 11-2) and Olajide Omotayo (11-3, 11-5, 11-3) in the singles matches, coupled with an opening close doubles victory by Chen Chien-An and Liao Cheng-Ting over Quadri Aruna and Olajide Omotayo (9-11, 15-13, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6) earned them a passage to the quarter-final round. There was an heroic performance from Quadri Aruna against Chen Chien-An (11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 2-11, 11-9); nevertheless, the Asians still recorded a 3-1 win to join China in the second stage of the championship.
The real sparkle in the team came to fore against the impressive England side as the youngest and oldest players in the team, 18 year old Lin Yun-Ju and 28 year old Chen Chien-An came to the fore against England. Chen Chien-An and Liao Cheng-Ting overcame Paul Drinkhall and Tom Jarvis (11-9, 11-8, 11-2), Lin Yun-Ju stunned Liam Pitchford (11-9, 11-6, 13-11); Chen Chien-An put the tie beyond the English side with a convincing win over Paul Drinkhall (11-6, 11-8, 11-9) to secure their place in the last four of the competition.
Sadly from a Chinese Taipei viewpoint, their efforts came to a conclusion when facing Korea Republic, a 3-0 defeat being the result. Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Chen Chien-An and Liao Cheng-Ting (4-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9), Jang Woojin overcame Lin Yun-Ju (11-9, 5-11, 15-13, 11-8), before Jeoung Youngsik ended matters by overcoming Liao Cheng-Ting (11-2, 11-7, 11-9).
“We really started very well in the doubles and we were leading 2-0 but our bad tactics affected us to surrender the lead and victory. We were so simple with our tactics and this cost us the tie. Even when Lin came on board for the singles, he was making simple mistakes; this really cost him the match. I must also commend Lin that he played very relaxed in this tournament but it was disappointing for us losing in such manner to Korea Republic. Overall, we are happy with our performance in Tokyo.” Chen Chien-An
For Lin Yun-Ju, playing at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium has been an awesome experience even as he looks forward return to the venue next year at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I love the venue, I feel comfortable, I look forward to Tokyo 2020. I am disappointed with my performance against the Koreans particularly in the third game against Jang Woojin. Generally, we are happy with our performance in Tokyo.” Lin Yun-Ju