Wang Hao will line up alongside Ma Long and Zhang Jike in London
Photo By: Remy Gros
2012 Olympic Games
The gold medallists four years ago in Beijing, China occupies the top seeded place in both the Menís and Womenís Team events at the forthcoming London Olympic Games.
Seeding is based on the most recent Menís and Womenís World Rankings, the lists issued by the International Table Tennis Federation on Wednesday 4th July 2012.
It takes into account only the three players named in the teams.
China will be represented by Zhang Jike, Ma Long and Wang Hao in the Menís Team event; for the Women, the trio on duty will be Ding Ning, Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yue.
Zhang Jike and Ma Long occupy the respective top two places on the Menís World Rankings with Wang Hao being in fourth spot.
Meanwhile, for the Women, Ding Ning retains her top billing, Li Xiaoxia is third on the list with Guo Yue eighth.
Such is the immense strength of Chinese table tennis that there is no place for either Xu Xin in the Menís Team or Liu Shiwen in the counterpart Womenís Team.
Presently Xu Xin is at no.3 on the Menís list, Liu Shiwen at no.2 on the Womenís ratings.
In any other country in the world they would be automatic selections.
Play in the team events follows the completion of the singles and commences on Friday 3rd August with the Womenís Team final and bronze medal matches being contested on Tuesday 7th August.
The counterpart Menís Team final and bronze medal matches are dueled on Wednesday 8th August, the concluding day of action.
Change from Beijing
It is a change from the Beijing schedule where the Team events commenced proceedings and the initial stage saw play on a group basis.
In London, as in the singles, play will be on the knock-out principle from the outset.
Therefore, with China the top seeds and clear favourites to retain their titles, the team occupying the second seeded position in the draw will potentially avoid China in the semi-finals.
Korea represented by Joo Saehyuk, Oh Sangeun and Ryu Seungmin occupy the second seeded place in the Menís Team event; in the Womenís Team event it is Japan with Kasumi Ishikawa, Ai Fukuhara and Sayaka Hirano forming the team.
On the July 2012 list, Joo Saehyuk is at no.10, Oh Sangeun is one place lower at no.11 with Ryu Seungmin at no.17; for the Japanese Womenís Team, Kasumi Ishikawa is listed at no.6, Ai Fukuhara at no.7 and Sayaka Hirano at no.18.
Both will be in the opposite half of the draw to China but as for the third and fourth seeds, as to which half they will appear, depends on the draw which will be conducted in the ExCel Arena at 2.00pm on Wednesday 25th July.
Beijing Silver Medallists
In the Menís Team event, the silver medalists in Beijing, Germany, with Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Bastian Steger in the London line-up occupy the fourth seeded place, behind the Japanese trio of Jun Mizutani, Koki Niwa and Seiya Kishikawa.
Timo Boll, a former World no.1, has slipped to no.7 with Dimitrij Ovtcharov now at no.12 and Bastian Steger at no.24; conversely for Japan, Jun Mizutani has climbed to no.5 with Koki Niwa now being at no.16 and Seiya Kishikawa at no.21.
Third place in the Womenís Team competition is allocated to Singapore with Korea in fourth spot.
Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu and Li Jiawei represent Singapore; Korea is led by Kim Kyungah with Seok Hajung and Park Miyoung in support.
A Challenge to Meet Expectations
A great deal is undoubtedly expected of Singapore following their silver medal in Beijing in 2008 and their gold medal at the LIEBHERR World Team Championships in Moscow in May 2010 but recently their players have not enjoyed sparkling international success.
Feng Tianwei is now at no.8 on the Womenís World Rankings, Wang Yuegu at no.11 and Li Jiawei at no.15; however, more recently at the LIEBHERR World Team Championships in Dortmund, when faced with Germany and Korea, both possible adversaries in London, they did respond to eventually seize runners up spot.
Moscow or Dortmund form will be needed in London if a medal is to be won by Singapore in the Womenís Team event but if there is player in form in 2012 it is Kim Kyungah, the winner of three Womenís Singles titles on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour and in addition, twice a runner up.
She has climbed to no.5 on the Womenís World Rankings with her colleagues Seok Hajung and Park Miyoung being at no.19 and no.33 respectively.
China, in both team events start as favourites but who will be their challengers?
An intriguing question.
Menís Team Seeding
1.CHINA: ZHANG Jike, MA Long, WANG Hao
2.KOREA REPUBLIC: JOO Saehyuk, OH Sangeun, RYU Seungmin
3.JAPAN: MIZUTANI Jun, NIWA Koki, KISHIKAWA Seiya
4.GERMANY: BOLLTimo, OVTCHAROV,Dimitrij, STEGER Bastian
5.SINGAPORE: GAO Ning, ZHAN Jian, YANG Zi
6.HONG KONG: JIANG Tianyi,TANG Peng, LEUNG Chu Yan
7.AUSTRIA: GARDOS Robert, CHEN Weixing, SCHLAGER Werner
8.PORTUGAL: FREITAS Marcos, APOLONIA Tiago, MONTEIRO Jošo
9.RUSSIA: SHIBAEV Alexander, SKACHKOV Kirill, SMIRNOV Alexey
10.SWEDEN: LUNDQVIST Jens, GERELL Pšr, PERSSON JŲrgen
11.KOREA DPR: JANG Song Man, KIM Hyok Bong, KIM Song Nam
12.BRAZIL: TSUBOI Gustavo, MONTEIRO Thiago, HOYAMA Hugo
13.GREAT BRITAIN: DRINKHALL Paul, BAGGALEY Andrew, PITCHFORD Liam
14.EGYPT: LASHIN El-Sayed, SALEH Ahmed, ASSAR Omar
15.CANADA: WANG (Eugene) Zhen, HINSE Pierre-Luc, HO Andrť
16.AUSTRALIA: HENZELL William, HAN Justin, FRANK Robert
Womenís Team Seeding
1.CHINA: DING Ning, LI Xiaoxia, GUO Yue
2.JAPAN: ISHIKAWA Kasumi, FUKUHARA Ai, HIRANO Sayaka
3.SINGAPORE: FENG Tianwei, WANG Yuegu, LI Jiawei
4.KOREA REPUBLIC: KIM Kyungah, SEOK Hajung, PARK Miyoung
5.HONG KONG: TIE Yana, JIANG Huajun, LEE Ho Ching
6.GERMANY: Wu Jiaduo, IVANCAN Irene, SILBEREISEN Kristin
7.NETHERLANDS: LI Jiao, LI Jie, TIMINA Elena
8.KOREA DPR: RI Myong Sun, KIM Jong, RI Mi Gyong
9.AUSTRIA: LIU Jia, LI Qiangbing, SOLJA Amelie
10.SPAIN: SHEN Yanfei, RAMIREZ Sara, DVORAK Galia
11.POLAND: LI Qian, PARTYKA Natalia, GRZYBOWSKA Katarzyna
12.UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: HSING Ariel, ZHANG Lily, WU Erica
13.GREAT BRITAIN: PARKER Joanna, LIU Na, SIBLEY Kelly
14.AUSTRALIA: LAY Jian Fang, MIAO Miao, TAN Vivian
15.BRAZIL: KUMAHARA Caroline, SILVA Ligia, GUI Lin
16.EGYPT: MESHREF Dina, EL-DAWLATLY Nadeen, MAGDY Raghd