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Table tennis: On the way to Tokyo via Doha for Xiaoxin Yang

In Qatar, the Monegasque table tennis player will attempt to secure her qualifying ticket for the Olympic Games

.After almost a year with no official competitions, in March 2020 she managed to earn herself a place in the semi-finals at the Oman Open in United Arab Emirates, Xiaoxin Yang has a major card to play at the end of this week (14-17 March) in the world Olympic qualifying tournament in Doha, with five spaces being awarded for Tokyo. “I feel confident.” the Principality’s representative said. “A competition of course remains a competition, but I know I’ve got a chance. I play well, I train well.” »

Xiaoxin YANG

 “I kept up the fight”.

To secure her golden ticket, the “red and white” athlete will have to give a faultless display to distinguish herself within the group which will already qualify four girls. As five places have been promised, the four girls who come second in the groups will battle it out in a sort of parallel competition with the final ticket as the prize. In June 2019 Xiaoxin Yang (44th in the current world ranking) came 4th in the European Games in Minsk (she also won a silver medal in the Mediterranean Games in 2018 and gold on several occasions in the Games of the Small States of Europe, missing her slot for Tokyo by a very narrow margin, the first three being qualified. Frustrating… Since then, Xiaoxin has put it behind her. “I was playing well before the start of Covid-19. But the conditions are the same for everyone… I have not thrown in the towel either mentally or physically. In tough times, you need to find the strength to press ahead”. she adds with courage and determination.

Four to five hours of training every day.

To prepare for Doha, the 33-year-old high-level athlete attended a training course in Boulogne-Billancourt. In addition to daily training sessions of four to five hours at the Louis II Stadium, tirelessly practising her skills alone with a robot that throws out balls in abundance, or at home. “I analyse my matches, how my opponents play… Table tennis is a complete sport: you need to think about everything, to anticipate, to appraise the situation all the time to keep up, if not you quickly lag behind.” Arriving in Doha on 28th February, Xiaoxin had been playing matches back-to-back at the Open prior to the world qualifying tournament. Her daily routine is focused on her hotel room and the sports hall. Like so many other disciplines, the international federation has created a bubble which restricts the scope of freedom. “We can’t go out; we can’t do anything. We have to stay in our room. I play or I train twice a day, so I don’t think about it. It’s not that hard for me, I feel good.” The Olympic Games? “That’s one of the goals I have set myself. I am extremely grateful to Monaco and I really hope I can offer my country this qualification.” If that doesn’t happen in Doha, she will have another opportunity with the continental qualifying matches in Lisbon (21-25 April).

Stéphan Maggi,

Press Officer for the Monegasque Olympic Committee





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