“It feels unbelievable to have qualified.”-Kanak Jha, The youngest ever male in the Olympics
Kanak Jha defeated USA’s top Table Tennis player Timothy Wang 4-0 to become the youngest ever male athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games.
In the ITTF-North American Olympic Qualification Tournament, which concluded on April 10, 2016 at Toronto, Canada, the 15-year old had a stupendous outing wherein he defeated Timothy Wang to secure his Olympic spot.
JHA will be in a table tennis team of North America which will also include Feng Yijun, Wang Eugene & Timothy Wang. Wang, who despite this loss, will be a part of Rio 2016 contingent as USA qualified for one team spot as well.
Three-time U.S. national champion in singles, Wang also has won two national titles in men’s doubles and three in mixed doubles. A 2012 Olympian, Wang was eliminated in singles preliminaries. He will play in the team event only in Rio.
A confident Jha, post the win and Olympic spot, said,
“It feels unbelievable to have qualified. I thought I had lost my match in the semifinals, but was so relieved when I won. This tournament has been very stressful, but in the end, it’s all worth it, as my dream has came true, and I am very excited about going to the Olympic Games.”
In the women’s team will be American Lily Zhang, who qualified as she didn’t lose a single game in the tournament. The Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Bronze medalist will be joined by USA’s Wu Yue, Canadian Zhang Mo and USA’s Zheng Jiaqi, as the team player.
An exuberant Zhang, post her match, said,
“I still can’t believe it! It feels like I’m in a cloud, so excited and proud to represent the US at the Olympics. I definitely do think this time around I’ll be more prepared and a little less star struck!”