Wong Chun-ting recovers from Rio disappointment to land third place at table tennis World Cup
Hong Kong player claims third place in Saarbrücken, Germany after thrashing Kristian Karlsson of Sweden
Hong Kong table tennis player Wong Chun-ting shrugged off a disappointing Rio Olympic Games to win his first World Cup medal after claiming third place in Saarbrücken, Germany on Monday.
After losing to world number three Xu Xin of China in the semi-finals, Wong, who suffered an early exit in the fourth round in Rio this summer, made no mistake when he crushed Kristian Karlsson of Sweden to win 4-1 (8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7) in the play-off for bronze medal.
This was the first time a men’s player won a world cup medal for Hong Kong following Tie Yana and Jiang Huajun’s silver medals in the women’s.
“Kristian is a very strong player and that made it very hard for me,” said Wong, who reached a career high of world number seven this month.
“I am happy with this title being my first medal in the singles event of a major world tournament. Also winning a medal on my first World Cup appearance is a good outing for me.”
In the gold medal match, 19-year-old Fan Zhendong beat compatriot Xu 4-1 to clinch his first ever world title success.
Fan, strongly tipped as a potential gold medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after not being selected for the Rio Games, blew his teammate away in a devastating 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10 performance in front of a capacity crowd.
“This is a big win for me, it’s my first senior world title trophy, it feels fantastic to win such a big event, I don’t know what to say,” said Fan, the 2014 Youth Olympic champion.
“My next goal is to keep improving, I want to be world number one, world and Olympic champion. I want to be the best. But for now I will just enjoy this victory and then start training again to get better and better.”
Now number two in the world despite his tender years, Fan shocked reigning Olympic champion Ma Long to win the China Open last month. Ma missed the World Cup due to injury.