06 Dec 2019

Competing on home soil, convincing wins, Australia emerged successful at the 2019 ITTF Oceania Team Qualification tournament in the Melbourne suburb of Mornington on Friday 6th December; imposingly they achieved their avowed goal without any moments of great drama or anxiety.

The goal: a place in each of the men’s and women’s team events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Selecting Xavier Dixon, David Powell and Kane Townsend, in their opening fixture in the men’s event, a 3-0 win was posted against the Fiji combination of Vicky Wu, Wu Zhicong and Joshua Yee; a successful start, the impressive form continued.

Heming Hu and Yan Xin preferred to Xavier Dixon and David Powell, the same margin of victory was recorded against the Papua New Guinea trio comprising David Loi, Geoffrey Loi and Gasika Sepa; one engagement later, the Tokyo place was secured by overcoming tradition southern hemisphere rivals, New Zealand.

Similarly, with no changes to the line-up, the New Zealanders had posted 3-0 wins against both Papua New Guinea and Fiji; the latter replacing Vicky Wu with Jai Chauhan in their selection.

Liu Tengteng (nearest camera) beat Wu Zhicong to secure a 3-0 win for New Zealand against Fiji (Photo: courtesy of Oceania Team Qualification Tournament)
Different scenario

Facing the Australians was a totally different scenario, taking no risks, the host nation fielded Heming Hu, Kane Townsend and Yan Xin; a 3-0 win was the outcome but there was a close call.

After Kane Townsend and Yan Xin had beaten Lui Tengteng and Nathan Xu (11-8, 11-8, 13-11), followed by Heming Hu accounting for Dean Shu (13-11, 11-5, 11-9), Yan Xin needed the full five games to overcome Nathan Xu (9-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-3, 11-9).

Nathan Xu, the only player to cause Australia serious problems (Photo: courtesy of Oceania Team Qualification Tournament)
Even more imposing

Imposing from the Australian men, it was even more imposing from their female counterparts.

In the one match required, selecting Michelle Bromley, Jian Fang Lay and Melissa Tapper, a 3-0 win was recorded in opposition to the Fiji combination of Carolyn Li, Grace Rosi Yee and Sally Yee.

Michelle Bromley and Melissa Tapper combined to win the doubles against Carolyn Li and Grace Rosi Yee (11-4, 11-4, 11-3), before Jian Fang Lay proved too experienced for Sally Yee (11-2, 11-3, 11-3) and Melissa Tapper overcame Grace Rosi Yee (11-2, 11-3, 11-1) to end matters.

Michelle Bromley and Melissa Tapper (nearest camera) beat Grace Rosi Yee and Caroline Li to set Australia on course for victiry against Fiji (Photo: courtesy of Oceania Team Qualification Tournament)
Tradition maintained

Thus tradition was maintained; ever since the team events were introduced in the Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing, Australia has always been the Oceania representative.

Furthermore, Jian Fang Lay has always been the pivotal player for the women. In Beijing she lined up alongside Miao Miao and Stephanie Sang Xu, the latter the fourth member of the team in Mornington; in London, Vivian Tan replaced Stephanie Sang Xu; in Rio de Janeiro, Melissa Tapper and Ziyu Zhang completed the selection.

Jian Fang Lay, ever present (Photo: courtesy of Oceania Team Qualification Tournament)
Rio three present in Mornington

Meanwhile, for the men, no player remains from Beijing or London.

In Beijing and London William Henzell led the team; in the former partnering Kyle Davis and David Zalcberg, in the latter alongside Justin Han and Robbie Frank. In Rio de Janeiro, also on duty today in Mornington, Heming Hu, David Powell and Yan Xin (often referred to as Chris Xan) formed the selection.

Once again for the supporters it was Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, advance Australia fair.

The successful Australian women’s team (left to right) Jian Fang Lay, Melissa Tapper and Michelle Bromley (Photo: courtesy of Oceania Team Qualification Tournament)
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Australia

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