The first stage of the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament has concluded today. Nations were split into eight single elimination tournaments where the winner of each group qualified to the Olympics. The World Team Qualification Tournament is currently being held in Gondomar, Portugal from January 22nd to January 26th 2020.
In the women’s team event only one top 8 seeded nation failed to win their group. Fourth seed South Korea lost to their northern neighbours, North Korea 3-1. For Singapore and Romania, they were pushed to a fifth and deciding game against the Netherlands and India, but were able to secure their spots thanks to Feng Tianwei and Daniela Dodean respectively. The other nations to book their spot to the Olympics were Austria, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Hungary and Poland who defeated Spain (3-1), France (3-0), Belarus (3-0), Portugal (3-1) and Ukraine (3-1) respectively.
Conversely, the men’s team event saw a few more seeding upsets. The largest one was caused by Serbia who defeated sixth seeded Austria 3-2 in their first match and Hong Kong 3-2 to qualify to the Olympics. Other top 8 seeds to fail to qualify were Great Britain who lost to Croatia 3-0 and India who lost to Slovenia 3-1. Chinese Taipei, France, Portugal, South Korea and Sweden rounded out the qualifiers as they defeated Poland (3-0), Slovakia (3-0), Belgium (3-0), the Czech Republic (3-0) and Hungary (3-0) respectively.
All nations who qualified a team will also be eligible to compete in the respective singles event with two individuals. The eight teams which lost to the qualified teams will all have one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics via the second stage of this tournament set to conclude on Sunday.
Update: With the withdrawal of North Korea, the team quota was reallocated to France.