21 Jan 2020

The first international tournament of the year and the most important; the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification tournament, commencing in Gondomar on Wednesday 22nd January, provides a passport to the most celebrated sporting event of all, the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Only the very few will stand on the podium at the close of play in the Japanese capital city in the first week of August; for the vast majority being an Olympian is a medal in itself, it outweighs other sporting achievements.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In Gondomar there are nine places available in each of the men’s team and women’s team events; additionally each successful team may further nominate two members to compete in the singles competitions.

Most significantly, there is little room for error; it is straight knock-out from the very start, reach the last eight, which for most teams is to negotiate two rounds and it is mission accomplished. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will not be played.

Leading women’s teams

The exception in the women’s event is there are 30 teams; thus Hong Kong China and Chinese Taipei, the respective top two seeds, commence play in round two; just one encounter, one win and the passport is stamped.

Hong China meets the winners of the contest between Belarus, the no.22 seeds and Thailand, the no.15 seeds; Chinese Taipei confronts either Russia, the no.12 seeds or France, the no.18 seeds.

Intriguing clash

Somewhat differently for Singapore, the no.3 seeds and Korea Republic, the no.4 seeds; they must compete in the opening round. Singapore plays Luxembourg, the no.20 seeds; for Korea Republic, Lithuania, the no.30 seeds, await.

Should seeding progress according to plan, for Singapore in the decisive round it will be either Serbia, the no.21 seeds or Netherlands, the no.11 seeds; mouthwatering but even more mouthwatering is the possible adversary for Korea Republic. They face the winners of the contest between Malaysia, the no.29 seeds and DPR Korea, the no.10 seeds.

Same situation

Meanwhile, in the men’s event there are 34 teams registered; thus an opening round comprising four outfits is required. Italy, the no.26 seeds, meet Malaysia, the no.34 seeds, the winners confronting Belgium, the no.12 seeds; Poland, the no.23 seeds, face Lithuania, the no.33 seeds, the successful team meeting Nigeria, the no.14 seeds.

Notably for the winners of the latter exchanges, Chinese Taipei, the no.2 seeds, could await; in the opening round they meet Thailand, the no.28 seeds. For Nigeria’s Segun Toriola, seeking an eighth Olympic Games appearance, a tough task awaits.

Moreover, in the determining round, could the same scenario as in the women’s event evolve? In their initial encounter Korea Republic, the top seeds, meet Russia, the no.19 seeds; the winners face the successful outfit in the fixture that involves Russia, the no.19 seeds and DPR Korea, the no.31 seeds.

Notable names

Enthralling contests, it is the same for the other leading outfits in the men’s event; notable names being potential adversaries in their quest for a Tokyo ticket.

Sweden, the no.3 seeds meet Spain, the no.25 seeds; in the vital round their opponents will be either Hungary, the no.17 seeds or, led by Vladimir Samsonov seeking his seventh Olympic Games appearance, Belarus, the no.15 seeds.

It is very similar for France, the no.4 seeds, in the opening round they face Denmark, the no.22 seeds. Jonathan Groth, runner up at the 2019 European Games leads the Danish line but note one other name listed, a certain Michael Maze, men’s doubles bronze medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Slovakia, the no.18 seeds or Romania, the no.13 seeds, await the winners.

Ninth place

Intense competition; after three days of play on Friday 24th January, eight men’s teams and eight women’s team will have booked places in Tokyo. In each discipline the one further place will be determined on the concluding two days of play.

The eight teams who were the losers in the round of the last 16 progress, progress to a knock-out event; the winners are Tokyo bound.


Men’s Team
Group 1: Korea Republic (1) v Russia (19); DPR Korea (31) v Czech Republic (16)
Group 2: Slovenia (11) v Iran (20); Luxembourg (32) v India (5)
Group 3: Great Britain (7) v Argentina (24); Greece (29) v Croatia (9)
Group 4: Belarus (15) v Hungary (17); Spain (25) v Sweden (3)
Group 5: France (4) v Denmark (22); Slovakia (18) v Romania (13)
Group 6: Belgium (12) v Italy (26) or Malaysia (34); Ukraine (21) v Portugal (8)
Group 7: Austria (6) v Serbia (27); Singapore (30) v Hong Kong China (10)
Group 8: Nigeria (14) v Poland (23) or Lithuania (33): Thailand (28) v Chinese Taipei (2)

Women’s Team
Group 1: Hong Kong China (1) v bye; Belarus (22) v Thailand (15)
Group 2: Spain (14) v Great Britain (25); Czech Republic (19) v Austria (6)
Group 3: Poland (8) v Nigeria (27); Belgium (24) v Ukraine (9)
Group 4: DPR Korea (10) v Malaysia (29); Lithuania (30) v Korea Republic (4)
Group 5: Singapore (3) v Luxembourg (20); Serbia (21) v Netherlands (11)
Group 6: Portugal (13) v Slovakia (26); Croatia (28) v Hungary (7)
Group 7: Romania (5) v Italy (23); India (17) v Sweden (16)
Group 8: Russia (12) v France (18); Chinese Taipei (2) v bye

Each group is organised on a knock-out basis, winners gain places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Seeding in brackets

2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Event Michael Maze

No results found.

Photo Gallery

Day 5 - 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament

Match Highlights