Neda Shahsavari performed a remarkable recovery
Photo By: Courtesy of Hong Kong Table Tennis Association Ltd
2016 ITTF-Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament (Click here to access this section)
A vital place in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at stake, the performance that put all others to shade, as matters came to a conclusion on the second day of action, Thursday 14th April, was that recorded by Iran’s Neda Shahsavari.
Competing in the Middle Asia Zone, in the final of the Women’s Singles event she recovered from the very depths of despair to beat Uzbekistan’s Olga Kim by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding game of a full distance duel (7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 12-10).
“It was unbelievable for me, because at the start I was not into the match; in game five I was down 6-10, I thought everything was finished for me but a miracle happened”, said a dazed Neda Shahsavari. “I started to get back point by point and won the game; after that, everything was changed.”
A quite remarkable recovery and as she clawed her way back step by step, the spectators in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium warmed to her efforts.
“Olga Kim is a player with a really good concentration level; it’s tough to play against her”, added Neda Shahsavari. “You must make sure that you are totally focused.”
Undoubtedly Neda Shahsavari was focused.
“The Olympics is every athlete’s dream, because it is only organized in every four years”, added Neda Shahsavari who competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“It is the second time I have qualified for the Olympics, the first time was a totally new experience. “Now I will plan and prepare better.”
Success for Neda Shahsavari, in the counterpart Men’s Singles final it was success for Iran by definition; in a contest between two siblings, Nima Alamian beat Noshad Alamiyan (11-7, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5) to reserve an August date in the Riocentro.
West Asia Zone
Meanwhile in the West Asia Zone, it was success for Qatar’s Li Ping and Uzbekistan’s Mariana Sahakian.
In the Men’s Singles event, Li Ping beat Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad in the crucial deciding contest (11-4, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7); in the Women’s Singles final Mariana Sahakian accounted for colleague (7-11, 11-5, 11-2, 12-10, 12-14, 12-10).
A gold medal at the H.I.S. 2009 World Championships in Yokohama when in the colours of China he partnered Cao Zhen to Mixed Doublessuccess, a place in the Olympic Games was to be treasured to the same extent as the win in the Japanese city,
“I felt very happy and emotional after I won this match; it was such a big decision for me to leave the China National Team and join the Qatar National Team”, said Li Ping. “Qualifying for the Olympics is a unique opportunity for me; in the past representing China, it was hard for me just to get a place in an international tournament; let alone the Olympic Games, I really treasure this opportunity.”
An opportunity but one which past performances suggested would be attained; however Li Ping felt the pressure.
“In today’s match, I was very nervous, as the Qatar team and even the country had high expectations of me; though the West Asia group is considered as a relatively weaker group, still every player was trying to play at their best level, so everything was possible”, added Li Ping. “In the final Abdulaziz put me under pressure; thankfully I was able to cope with the pressure.”
Mission accomplished, now Li Ping is looking forward.
“I hope that in these next few months I can prepare myself in a good way”, concluded Li Ping. “In the Rio Olympic Games, I will enjoy the matches and give my best.”
South Asia Zone
Decisions made in the Middle Asia Zone and in the West Asia Zone; one day earlier in the South Asia Zone the names of the qualifiers had been decided.
In a group only involving players from India, Soumyajit Ghosh and Manika Batra had reserved the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles places.
Day Two: The Zone Stage concludes, passport to Rio de Janeiro issued
Photos courtesy of Hong Kong Table Tennis Association