Taiwan earned Olympic spots at the Rio de Janeiro Games on Saturday, after Chen Chien-an won a hard-fought match at the table tennis qualifiers in Hong Kong, while in Manila, two taekwondo athletes also booked their places.
Six men’s and women’s singles winners qualified for Rio at the second stage of the Asian qualifying tournament, where the world’s top players, including China’s Ma Long, secured spots at the Olympics earlier this week.
Chen had a strong start to his qualifying match against Thailand’s Tanvirivavechakul Padasak, but blew an early two-game lead. He ultimately won 4-2.
“Maybe I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Chen, 24, told reporters after the match. “Of course I’m very happy ... to represent Taiwan in the Olympics.”
Chen was part of the men’s doubles team who claimed a historic first world title at the 2013 Table Tennis World Championships in Paris.
In the Philippines, Liu Wei-ting and Huang Huai-hsuan secured Olympic qualification after defeating their rivals in the semi-finals of their respective weight divisions at the Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament.
Liu got past Mahmoud Abdelrahim from Qatar 4-2 in the semi-finals of the under-80kg men’s division at the qualifying tournament, while in the under-49kg women’s category, Huang defeated Bana Daraghmi of Jordan 4-0.
In their finals yesterday, Huang defeated Kazakhstan’s Ainur Yesbergenova, while Nikita Rafalovich of Uzbekistan beat Liu, though the top two from each category were already assured of qualification.
The tournament offered taekwondo athletes of the region their last chance for qualification for Rio.
Ninety-eight athletes from 36 countries participated in the two-day tournament, which concluded yesterday.
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