Asian Games 2018: Hong Kong table tennis star Wong Chun-ting vows to make up for costly Incheon misery
Wong Chun-ting, 26, has come a long way since losing decider against Taiwan at 2014 Asian Games that cost the team over HK$1 million a year in funding
Wong Chun-ting is determined to make amends for Hong Kong’s table tennis team at his second Asian Games in Indonesia next month.
Four years ago in Incheon, Wong lost his deciding men’s match against Taiwan that meant Hong Kong missed out on a medal, costing the side over HK$1 million per year in elite A team support.
Now the leading player of the team, Wong is determined to make things right in Jakarta next month when he kicks off his second campaign.
“I was only a small also ran in the team four years ago and when I was called up in the last but deciding match in the quarter-finals, I didn’t deliver as I was a bit tense,” said Wong, who has massively improved since and now ranks No 9 in the world.
“It’s a big learning curve and of course we aim to do better this time, especially as I have to lead the team.”
Hong Kong was level against Taiwan at 2-2 in that match and when Wong was called up for the rubber tie, he failed to live up to expectations, losing 3-2 to Chen Chien-An with the score 12-10 after deuce in the final game.
Taiwan then progressed to the semi-finals and were guaranteed a bronze medal with no play-offs required for third place.
From being the least important player of the team, Wong has made huge strides over the last four years and despite his age of 26, he will be leading Ho Kwan-kit, Jiang Tianyi, Lam Siu-hang and Ng Pak-nam in the team competition for Indonesia.
His ranking rose from close to 50 four years ago to his highest of world No 6 last year. Wong also captured a bronze medal at the 2016 World Cup and third place in the mixed doubles with Doo Hoi-kem at the 2015 World Championships.
“I learn, I grow and now I want to bring Asian Games honour home for Hong Kong,” said Wong, who will also feature in the two remaining men’s events in Indonesia, the singles and the mixed doubles with Doo again.
“Since I have to play in all three events, I need a strong physique to maintain my fitness and must be very careful with the food in Indonesia as I heard the conditions may not be that good,” he said.
Hong Kong has an impressive mixed doubles record at the Asian Games, with Tie Yana and Cheung Yuk taking gold in 2002, while Cheung and Jiang Huajun came second in 2010. In Incheon, Jiang Tianyi and Lee Ho-ching were also silver medallists.
“I have worked with Doo for several years and have a good understanding. Of course we want to prove ourselves again in Indonesia after the 2015 World Championships,” he said.
Japan, who will host the Tokyo Olympics in two years’ time, have kept all their top players home, as have world powerhouse China.
There will be five table tennis medal programmes in Indonesia, the same number of events that will be featured in the Tokyo Olympics which also include the women’s team and singles.