The 45-year-old was set for a seventh consecutive appearance on the Olympic stage having represented his native Belarus at the prestigious event without fail following his debut at Atlanta 1996.
A men’s singles semi-finalist in 2016, Vladimir Samsonov has been a standout presence on the entry list over the decades, with the age-defying Belarusian icon winning the hearts of fans around the globe in his steadfast pursuit of glory.
Falling just short of a medal finish in Rio de Janeiro, Samsonov’s hopes and dreams of standing on the historic podium grow ever slimmer following the news of his absence in the Japanese capital. His next opportunity won’t be until 2024 when the Olympic Games arrive in Paris.
Confirmation of Samsonov’s withdrawal means his position in the men’s singles draw will result in reallocation to the highest-ranked individual not yet qualified. Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall is next in line and following the confirmation from his National Olympic Committee (NOC), he is now Tokyo bound.
Drinkhall, 31, narrowly missed out on qualification at the 2020 European Olympic Singles Qualification Tournament held in Guimarães, Portugal in April, finishing in the 1st reserve spot. Reaching the Round of 32 on home soil at London 2012, Drinkhall went one round further four years later in Rio. He will be eager to fly the British flag with pride once again after being cleared to take the stage at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
The updated player entry list for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s singles event can be found here.
Stay tuned for more updates as we bring you the latest Tokyo 2020 news on ITTF.com & Worldtabletennnis.com.