Paris Olympics: Hong Kong’s Games entries grow as table tennis’ Wong Chun-ting earns men’s singles spot

The Hong Kong delegation’s entries in the Olympic Games increased to 32 after table tennis player Wong Chun-ting sealed a berth in the men’s singles in Paris.

Despite seeing his latest world ranking drop by one place to No 49, Wong was awarded the spot reserved for the next highest-ranked player in East Asia after each of the region’s qualifiers in the team event had been allocated two players. There was no East Asia qualifying tournament, because of a lack of participants.

A source at Hong Kong’s table tennis association confirmed that Wong had received a singles place to go with his existing berth in the mixed doubles tournament, in which he will partner Doo Hoi-kem.

It will be a third straight Games for 32-year-old Wong, who made his debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, reaching the last 16 of the men’s singles competition.

He featured again in Tokyo in 2021, being ousted in the round of 32.

Wong Chun-ting will play in the singles in Paris. Photo: ITTF

The veteran led Hong Kong’s challenge in the team competitions of those Games, too, as they reached the quarter-finals in Brazil and the last 16 in Japan. He also reached the last eight with Doo in the mixed doubles of the Tokyo edition.

Since then, Wong has picked up a bronze medal at last year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Hong Kong also has its women’s team qualified for Paris, which brings with it two women’s singles spots, and the city’s head coach Li Ching revealed that the squad heading to the French capital could grow further.

“We need to wait until the cut-off date on June 18 to see whether Lam Siu-hang can make it,” he said. “He is currently ranked 11th on the list [of eligible remaining players] and there are 13 more spots on offer.

“There are still four or five tournaments until then. We will not know who is going to play well, and because the points difference is so small, there’s no way to guess his chances.

“It’s all down to his next results. He’ll play in two or three more tournaments but he can’t play in them all.”

About 70 players may take part in each of the men’s and women’s singles, of which 32 are drawn from the qualified men’s and women’s teams. Then 22 places are handed to individuals from Olympic committees that do not have a team qualified through their continent. Remaining spots will be distributed according to the singles world rankings.

Lam, who is ranked No 86 in the world, is playing in a World Table Tennis Contender event in Taiyuan, China, which runs until Sunday.

The 27-year-old on Thursday defeated Xu Yingbin of China 3-2 to reach the last 16, fighting back after trailing 9-2 in the decider. Lam will next face the winner between Liang Jingkun and Liu Dingshuo.


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