Agony for HK's Doo Hoi-kem as she misses out on Youth Olympics gold in table tennis
Teenager has to fight back the tears, but coach insists defeat will prove a valuable learning experience
Hong Kong table tennis player Doo Hoi-kem was heartbroken to just miss out on Youth Olympic Games gold on Wednesday, but she and her coach insist silver is the first step towards a bright future.
In the women’s singles final, top-seed Doo went 0-2 down after dropping the first two games 6-11, 5-11, but fought back against second-seed Liu Gaoyang from the mainland, winning the third 11-6.
But Liu quenched hopes of a comeback in Nanjing by taking the following two, 11-1 and 11-3 to seal the match 4-1 in 32 minutes. It was the fourth silver medal for Hong Kong at the Games.
The 17-year-old, fighting back tears, said: “I feel OK with how I performed in this tournament, but not this match.
“I did not have adequate confidence today. Maybe I was thinking too much about this battle with Liu.
“It is not about winning or defeat, I am disappointed that I didn’t do well today.”
But Doo’s coach Zhang Rui was satisfied with her result and that of another Hong Kong player Hung Ka-tak, who lost 3-4 to mainlander Fan Zhendong in the men’s singles quarter-final.
“They did well in this tournament. Doo still lacks experience of playing a final in a major tournament like this one. She has never played in a match of such a high level in the setting of the one and only table in the centre of the arena,” said Zhang.
“She carried out the game plan and chose the right strategy today, but Liu played too well, while Doo couldn’t find the right rhythm to control the situation.”
Liu, who is already a part of the Chinese national squad’s first team, praised Doo’s talent and said she is “a new star and a future major opponent for the national squad in senior tournaments”.
Despite her disappointment, Doo hoped the experience would help he become a core part of Hong Kong’s senior squad.
“To realise the goal, I need to practice wholeheartedly when I get back to Hong Kong and minimise my errors in the future.”
Zhang also thinks this competition will be a stepping stone for Doo.
“This is the most important competition for her so far. She has prepared for it for more than a year, so claiming a medal will boost her confidence for sure.
“She will now compete in the Asian Games and next year’s World Championship, and I believe it will take about two to three years for her to reach the [senior elite] standard,” said Zhang.
“The next Olympics will be held two years later. Doo’s older compatriots in the Hong Kong team, like Lee Ho-ching and Ng Wing-nam are more experienced than her, but she still has time to catch up and try to get there.”