The first day of the 2021 Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament saw athletes from East and South Asia book their spot to the games. The Asian qualifiers differ from other continental qualifiers as each of the five regions along with the highest ranked runner-up (in the April 2021 rankings) are given singles quotas. As a reminder, the West Asian qualifier took place last year. The Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament is currently being held in Doha. Qatar from March 18th to March 20th 2021.
Due to being the only eligible nation from the region to compete Mongolia was ensured to win a quota in the men’s and women’s singles while India was guaranteed to win a quota in the women’s singles. The only question would be who?
The East Asian women’s singles qualifier was won by Mongolia’s Batmonkhiin Bolor-Erdene whom defeated her compatriot Batbayaryn Doljinzuu 4-1. On the men’s side it was Mongolia’s Enkhbatyn Lkhagvasuren who won in straight sets over his compatriot Jargalsaikhan Munkhzorig.
In the South Asian women’s singles qualifier India’s Sutirtha Mukherjee won over her compatriot Manika Batra 4-2. Batra however, will still qualify to the Olympics as she will be the highest ranked runner-up.
The men’s South Asian qualifier saw three athletes compete in a round-robin tournament. The first match was a see-saw event where India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran won the first two sets against his compatriot Sharath Acanta. Acanta would win the next three to take a 3-2 lead, but Gnanasekaran was able to close out the match by winning the next two sets in a 4-3 set thriller. Both Indian players would go on to win straight sets over Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez. This meant Gnanasekaran won the South Asian men’s quota. Acanta will also qualify due to being the highest ranked runner-up.
The Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament continues tomorrow with more matches in the other regions along with the mixed double qualifier.
* To be confirmed upon publication of April 2021 rankings