25 Jan 2020

Disappointment one day earlier, losing to Slovenia, the no.11 seeds; on the fourth day of action, Saturday 25th January, there was further disappointment for India in the men’s team event at the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament in Gondomar.

The no.5 seeds, they were beaten by the Czech Republic, the no.16 seeds; the architects of the defeat being Pavel Sirucek and Tomas Polansky.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Tomas Polansky partnered Lubomir Jancarik to doubles success against Sharath Kamal Achanta and Harmeet Desai (12-14, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9), before in the fourth contest bringing proceedings to a conclusion by overcoming Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (14-16, 12-10, 12-14, 11-8, 11-9).

Sandwiched in between Pavel Sirucek accounted for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (12-10, 13-11, 11-9) in the second match of the fixture, before Sharath Kamal Achanta gave India hope by overcoming Lubomir Jancarik (6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8).

Different situation

One wonders did the situation of the occasion contribute to the Indian defeats in Gondomor?

In 2018 the won the men’s team title at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, they were not the favourites. Later in the year they gained bronze at the Asian Games, totally unpredicted; they beat Japan in the quarter-finals.

Now in Gondomar, they were the favourites to gain one of the nine places in Tokyo, it didn’t happen.

Pay tribute

A subject for discussion, I would rather pay tribute to Pavel Sirucek and Tomas Polansky.

Pavel Sirucek is the reason why the Czech Republic is still in the hunt. Against DPR Korea, in the opening round, he was the backbone of his team’s success in a 3-2 victory; in the second match of the fixture he beat Ham Yu Song (6-11, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8, 11-6), before in the fifth and deciding encounter overcoming Kim Ok Chan (11-8, 11-6, 14-12).

Against India, once again he played a pivotal role, his win in the second match of the fixture against Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was a major confidence boost for his team. He nullified the fast attacking skill of his gallant adversary, comfortably in the rallies, his extra power proved a crucial factor as he capitalised on any wayward return of service.


Meanwhile, for Tomas Polansky, he was calmness personified against the ebullient Sathiyan Gnanasekaran; his level of consistency proving the distance as adrenalin gushed through the body of his adversary.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult match. India was the fifth seeded I think. They are for sure better but we just said we will give our best. We also have a strong team. We just believed in ourselves and it worked. I think I just started to avoid mistakes, like in the first game I made mistakes and he got many easy points. Overall, I thought we are equal. I felt gradually stronger, I just avoided mistakes and yes, I won.” Tomas Polansky

Was the vital difference? Tomas Polansky kept his emotions under control, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran made his feelings known, perhaps just a trifle over exuberant?

At the semi-final stage the Czech Republic meets Hungary.

2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Event Tomas Polansky Pavel Sirucek

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Day 5 - 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament

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