Kiwi Teams Miss Big Chance For Commonwealth Game

Thursday 15 April 2010, 9:28AM

By Dave Worsley



New Zealand has missed a golden opportunity to qualify its men’s and women’s table tennis teams for the Commonwealth Games after defeats at the hands of Australia late last night.

A win by the Kiwi sides would have meant that selection for New Delhi would have been basically confirmed. However that was not to be. The men’s side was without its regular No1 Shane Laugesen and was easily defeated 0-3 by a strong Australian team. However the women’s side, led by Karen Li was decided on the fifth match.

New Zealand now have tough opportunities to qualify teams through the world champs in Moscow next month, where they would need to finish in the top six Commonwealth nations.

The women’s team was helped in their final by Li scoring a win in the second match over Stephanie San Xu in straight games after Jenny Hung had been beaten by Australia’s top player Miao Miao in the first match. Sun Yang was next to the table for the Kiwis but was defeated by former world top 50 player Jian Fang Lay in four games. In the battle between the two top players Li was able to overcome Miao Miao in five dramatic games with some quick-fire shots and world-class rallies.

The deciding match had San Xu finish up as straight game winner over Hung to seal the title for Australia.

In the men’s final Kiwi No1 John Cordue came closest to an upset by taking his opponent, David Powell to four games, but couldn’t sustain the pressure.

As individuals New Zealand players can have their names but forward for selection if they perform well at the Oceania individual championships starting today in Auckland.

It is the 15th time the Oceania event has been held. There are close to 200 individual entrants with the top New Zealand hopeLi from North Harbour who is a former Commonwealth Games silver medalist in 2002 and winner of the 2008 Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament. She has a current world ranking of 157. However Li wil face tough competition from the current Oceania champion, Miao Miao from Australia.

In the men’s section, Australian William Henzell was a medalist in the sport at the Commonwealth Games in 2008 in Melbourne. He is the top seed followed by four more Australians. With regular Kiwi No1, Laugesen absent, the mantle of top Kiwi falls on Cordue, the Aucklander who represents Canterbury. He will be the sixth seed followed by Philip Xiao from Auckland and Ryan Zhu, also from Auckland

Oceania Open Women’s Team Final:

Australia 3 New Zealand 3

(Australian names first)

Miao Miao bt Jenny Hung 11-9 11-8 11-8, Stephanie San Xu lt Karen Li 7-11 8-11 7-11, Jian Fang Lay bt Sun Yang 11-8 9-11 11-9 11-9, Miao Miao lt Karen Li 9-11 11-7 8-11 11-5 7-11, Stephanie San Xu bt Jenny Hung 11-7 11-5 11-9.

Oceania Open Men’s Team Final:

Australia 3 New Zealand 0

(Australian names first)

William Henzell bt Phillip Xiao 11-5 11-6 11-9, Justin Han bt Nathan Lowe 11-9 11-5 7-11 13-11, David Powell bt John Cordue 11-9 5-11 16-14 11-3.

2010 KVB Kunlun ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) Oceania Championships.

Auckland Table Tennis Association Headquarters, Gillies Ave, Epsom.

Tournament Schedule:

Thursday 15 April:

8.30am – 5pm, Age group individual events

5.15pm - 10pm, Open individual events

Friday 16 April:

8.30am – 6pm, Age group individual events

6.15pm - 10pm, Open individual events

8.30am – 6pm,

Saturday 17 April:

8.30am-12.30pm, U21 and U15 semifinals and finals

1.15pm – 5pm, U18 and U12 semifinals and finals

6pm – 10pm Open individuals, all quarterfinals

Sunday 18 April:

8.30am – 2pm, Open semis and finals

2.30pm Closing ceremony