Alkhadrawi and Zaza won their respective events at the 2020 Western Asia Olympic Qualification Tournament. By winning, both athletes have qualified to the Olympics. In Asia, the continental quotas have been split by region. In total, 12 nations were eligible to compete for this quota. The Western Asia Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Amman, Jordan from February 23rd to February 26th 2020.
The women’s singles had 11 competitors that were placed into three groups where the top two advanced. Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian and Jordan’s Sewar Abuyaman won their respective groups by going undefeated. Advancing with them were Bahrain’s Maryam Alqasimi and Lebanon’s Malak Khoury respectively. The other group had three athletes finish with 2-1 records. Thanks to the tiebreaker the group was won by Syria’s Hend Zaza while Bahrain’s Maryam Alaali finished second, leaving Jordan’s Bara Al-Wedian as the odd person out.
The preliminary round saw Khoury and Alaali go the distance. Khoury was down 3-1 before winning the final three sets to advance to the semi-finals. The other match was won by Abuyaman whom defeated Alqasimi 4-1. The semi-finals saw a battle between compatriots where 2016 Olympian Sahakian defeated Khoury. The other semi-final went to a seventh set as Zaza defeated Abuyaman 4-3. The final and Olympic quota was won in a seven set thriller by eleven year old Zaza over Sahakian.
The men’s singles had 19 competitors that were placed into five groups where the top two advanced. The group winners were Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi, Lebanon’s Dauud Cheaib, Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi, Jordan’s Zaid Abo Yamn and Qatar’s Ahmad Al-Mohannadi. Advancing in second place were Kuwait’s Ibrahem Al-Hasan, Qatar’s Mohammed Abdulwahhab, Yemen’s Ebrahim Gubran, Bahrain’s Rashed Sanad and Jordan’s Zeyad Aldmaisy respectively.
The preliminary round saw a comeback by Abdulwahhab against Gubran who was down 3-2 to win 4-3. The other match had Aldmaisy defeat Al-Hasan 4-2. The quarterfinals had two matches go the distance as Abo Yaman and Sanad defeated Abdulwahhab and Bu Shulaybi 4-3 respectively. The other matches were won by Alkhadrawi and Cheaib whom both scored 4-1 victories over Al-Mohannadi and Aldmaisy respectively.
The first semi-final saw Alkhadrawi take a 3-0 lead over Abo Yaman, but Abo Yaman was able to tie things up. Unfortunately for the host nation, he was unable to complete the comeback as Alkhadrawi won the final set 11-9. The other match was won by Cheaib who defeated Sanad. The quota was won by Alkhadrawi as he defeated Cheaib 4-1 in the final.
The other regions of Asia will have their qualifier in April. Unqualified athletes will have more opportunities to qualify via the final qualification tournament and through the world rankings.
* Saudi Arabia