The Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament got underway in Doha today at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena as table tennis players from four Asian regions set out in pursuit of a Tokyo 2020 place.
East Asia, Middle Asia, South Asia and South East Asia are each eligible to be represented at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by one player in the men’s singles and one in the women’s singles.
With play scheduled for three days, Iran's third seed in the women’s singles, Neda Shahsavari, emerged victorious in her opening group stage match against Kazakhstan’s second seed Zauresh Akasheva, winning 11-8, 13-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3.
There was also a surprise victory for fourth seed Rimma Gufranova over her Kazakhstan compatriot, top seed Anastassiya Lavrova, by 7-11, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3.
Central Asia top seed Kirill Gerassimenko of Kazakhstan, who had won earlier in the day, progressed as he beat the Iranian number four seed Nima Alamian 14-12, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9.
Alamian’s national colleague Noshad Alamiyan enjoyed his second success of the day, outclassing Uzbekistan’s Zokhid Kenjaev 11-5, 11-2, 11-7, 5-11, 11-4.
India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran won his opening encounter, beating fellow countryman Sharath Kamal Achanta 11-9, 15-13, 5-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8.