The 2021 Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament concluded with quotas being awarded to Central and Southeast Asian athletes. Additionally, the continental representation for mixed doubles was decided. The Asian qualifiers differ from other continental qualifiers as each of the five regions along with the highest ranked runner-up (in the April 2021 rankings) are given singles quotas. As a reminder, the West Asian qualifier took place last year. The Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Doha, Qatar from March 18th to March 20th 2021.
The Southeast Asian women’s qualifier concluded yesterday where four athletes took part in a round robin tournament. Top seed Orawan Paranang of Thailand won the event and Olympic quota, dropping only one set to the Philippines Rose Fadol. Jannah Romero defeated her compatriot Fadol in a seven set match to finish second while Fadol herself finished third thanks to a straight sets victory over Indonesia’s Siti Aminah.
On the men’s side there were two groups where the top two advanced to the semi-finals. Singapore showed it was the top nation of the region as both Koen Pang and Clarence Chew won their respective groups. Joining them in the semi-finals were Indonesia’s Rafanael Niman and Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul. The final was an all-Singapore affair as Pang defeated Tanviriyavechakul 4-0 and Chew won over Niman 4-1. The Olympic quota was won by Chew who won in straight sets over Pang.
The men’s Central Asian qualifier was split into two groups where the top two advanced to the semi-finals. The first group was won by top seed Kirill Gerassimenko of Kazakhstan though he needed all seven sets to defeat Iran’s Nima Alamian who also advanced. The second group was won by Nima’s older brother, Noshad who went undefeated. Joining him into the semi-finals was Uzbekistan’s Zokhid Kenjaev.
Despite winning their respective groups, both athletes lost their semi-final match as Zokhid came back from being down 3-2 to win 4-3 over Gerassimenko while Nima defeated his brother Noshad 4-1. The final saw Zokhid take a 2-0 set lead, but Nima would go on to win the next four sets to win the Olympic quota 4-2.
The women’s qualifier was also was split into two groups where the top two advanced to the semi-finals. Uzbekistan’s Rimma Gufranova won the first group thanks to victories over Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova (4-2) who also advanced and Iran’s Shima Safaei (4-0). The second group saw all three athletes finish with a 1-1 record. Taking the tie-breaker into account Iran’s Neda Shahsavari won the group while Uzbekistan’s Markhabo Magdieva advanced in second, leaving Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva as the odd player out.
As with the men’s qualifier the group winners on the women’s side also lost their semi-final match as Magdieva defeated her compatriot Gufranova 4-2 while Labrova despite being down 3-1 was able to comeback to win 4-3 over Shahsavari. Labrova took a 2-0 lead in the final before Magdieva levelled things off. However, Labrova would regain control of the match to win the Olympic quota 4-2.
The mixed doubles quota was decided through a single elimination bracket. The final was between South Korea’s Lee Sang-su and Jeon Ji-hee who defeated Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul and Suthasini Sawettabut 4-2 in the semi-finals and India’s Sharath Achanta and Manika Batra who defeated Singapore’s Koen Pang and Ye Lin 4-2. In the final, it was the South Korean pair who took a 2-0 lead, but after that it was the Indian pair who took control of the match as they would go on to win the quota by a 4-2 score.
Unqualified Asian athletes can still qualify to the Olympics based on the Olympic Rankings set to conclude in May. The continental qualifiers continue with Latin America to decide their athletes in April.