Seeking Better Fortunes in Markham, Eugene Wang Leads the Line
2016 ITTF-North America Olympic Games Qualification
Courtesy of ITTF
One step short; that was to be the lot of Canada’s Eugene Wang in the Men’s Singles event at the 2015 Pan American Games last August; he was beaten in the final in a full distance seven games duel by Brazil’s Hugo Calderano.
The defeat not only meant that was denied the honor of being the owner of the prestigious title; it also meant that he was denied direct access to a place in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Now in the very same venue where he suffered heartaches, Eugene Wang attempts to achieve the latter goal.
Listed at no.67 on the current Men’s World Rankings, the 30 year old is the highest rated player on duty in the Men’s Singles event at the forthcoming 2016 ITTF-North America Olympic Games Qualification Tournament.
Play commences in the Canadian city of Markham, part of the Greater Toronto area, on Friday April 8th.
Won in Las Vegas
He is the one player on duty with an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title to his credit, he won in Las Vegas in 2013 when beating China’s Yang Ce in the final.
Furthermore, officially known as Wang Zhen, he competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games but not in the Men’s Singles event, he was on duty in the Men’s Team competition lining up alongside André Ho and Pierre-Luc Hinse.
Neither André Ho nor Pierre-Luc Hinse is named on the entry list for the 2016 ITTF-North America Olympic Games Qualification Tournament.
Also present in London and competing in Markham is Timothy Wang of the United States, a player with no current world ranking owing to an absence from the international scene.
He is a player who perhaps does not have the best of memories of competing in Markham; last May at the 2015 ITTF-North America Cup he was beaten in the final by colleague, Jimmy Butler, while later in the year in the Men’s Singles event at the Pan American Games it was a second round exit. He was beaten by Canada’s Pierr-Luc Theriault.
However, later in the year in Westchester, he did gain revenge; at the 2015 ITTF North American Championships, he beat Pierre-Luc Theriault to secure the Men’s Singles title for the first time in his career. One year earlier he had lost in the final in Mississauga to Eugene Wang who had also won in Vancouver in 2013.
Now, at the ITTF-North America Olympic Games Qualification Tournament Timothy Wang and Pierre-Luc Theriault may lock horns once again, the name of the powerful left handed 23 year old Canadian appears on the entry list.
Narrowest of Defeats
Furthermore, he will be hoping for better fortunes that he experienced last year in Markham.
At the 2015 ITTF-North America Cup he was beaten by Jimmy Butler in a full distance seven games duel, the score in the final game being 18-16 in favor of the American.
Three months later at the Pan American Games it was a quarterfinal exit; he suffered defeat when facing Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi.
Varying fortunes in Markham last year for Eugene Wang, Timothy Wang and Pierre-Luc Theriault; it was also the same for Kanak Jha.
He was beaten in a seven games duel by Timothy Wang at the semi-final stage of the 2015 ITTF-North American Cup before in the Men’s Singles event at the Pan American Games experiencing a first round defeat at the hands of Argentina’s Gaston Alto.
Undoubtedly the 15 year old is a major contender for one of the three places available in the Rio 2016 Men’s Singles event allocated to North America. Also, he has no qualms about confronting more senior opponents.
Memorably he won the 2014 ITTF-North American Cup and thus qualified to compete in the Liebherr Men’s World Cup later in the year in the German City of Düsseldorf.
Likewise, Pierre-Luc Theriault has the experience of competing in the Men’s World Cup; he was present in the English city of Liverpool in 2012; the appearance being as a result of winning the North America Cup in what proved to be a very good year for the Canadian. Also he won the Men’s Singles title at the ITTF-North American Championships in Cary.
Yet to Attain Major Continental Title
Four players in the guise of Eugene Wang, Pierre-Luc Theriault, Kanak Jha and Timothy Wang all have enjoyed notable continental success; for the remaining players on duty in the Men’s Singles event in Markham such accolades have yet to be attained.
Marko Medjugorac and Filip Ilijevski are the two further Canadian names; for the United States Feng Yujin and Sharon Alguetti complete the line-up.