The 2016 Asian Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament was held this April in Hong Kong, with a total of eleven places available in each of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, divided into East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Middle Asia Zones.
Neda Shahsavari and Nima Alamian got two direct spots to Rio 2016, as winners in the Middle Asia Zone. Noshad Alamiyan had to face his brother Nima in the finals and lost. However, in the second stage, he recorded a 4-1 success over Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, securing Iran’s third Olympic spot.
Rio 2016 will mark Nima Alamian’s first appearance at the Olympic Games. Noshad Alamiyan and Neda Shahsavari will participate for the second time. Shahsavari became in London 2012 the first woman to represent Iran in table tennis at the Olympic Games.
Earlier this year, the Iranian women’s team surprised many as they got the gold medal in the third division of the 54th World Team Table Tennis Championships in Malaysia. The trio formed by Mahjobeh Omrani, Neda Shahsavari and Maryam Samet recorded a three matches to nil win against Uzbekistan.
The World Team Championships are played on a “Division” system with 24 teams in each of the first three divisions while all other teams form a 4th Division. The first division is also the Championship Division as only teams in this division can compete for the title of World Champions.
Photos: Iranian table tennis players at 2016 ITTF Asia Olympic Games Qualification Tournament and Iran women’s table tennis team at 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championship in Malysia
Sources: Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MN 2, ittf.com 1, Flicker | ITTF World, hktta.org.hk, ittf.com 2, MNA 3, ittf.com 3, IRNA, perfectwttc2016.com.my