Experience And Youth To Be Served Up On USA Squad At Rio Trials This Weekend

By Richard Finn/USATT | April 05, 2016, 12:37 p.m. (ET)

A blend of experience and youth will be served up on the eight-player United States squad for this week’s North American Olympic Table Tennis Trials, the last stop in the qualifying process for the summer games in Rio.

The three-day event starts Friday in Markham, just outside of Toronto. The hosts Canadians are expected to be the strongest competition.

At least one USA woman and one man will qualify. Yue Wu has already qualified for the USA women’s team by winning the Pan American women’s singles gold medal last summer.

“The present and the future of USA table tennis will be in action this weekend,” said Gordon Kaye, USA Table Tennis CEO. “This is an exciting time in our sport and I know that all of our athletes have been training hard to be at the top of their games for this moment.”

A pair of veteran past Olympians Chen Wang, 42, of New York, Timothy Wang, 24, of Atlanta, are joined by Jiaqi Zheng, 27, of Milpitas, Calif. at the top of the team.

Fourteen-year-old Crystal Wang of Bellevue, WA., is the youngest of a group of teenagers on the team. Yijun Feng, 18 of Atlanta and Lily Zhang, 19, also of Milpitas, join Sharon Alguetti, of Tenafly, N.J. and Kanak Jha, of Milpitas, Calif, both 15, to fill out the squad.

If Crystal Wang or Alguetti makes the team they would be the youngest USA Olympians since swimmer Katie Hoff was 15 in the 2004 Games.

All are looking to make their first Olympic team except for Zhang who played in the 2012 Olympics in London.Zhang is also a Youth Olympic Bronze medal winner.

Wang reached the 2008 Olympic quarterfinals in the best showing ever by a USA woman before retiring to start a family. She returned to competition last year and won a qualifying spot at the USA Olympic Trials in Greensboro, NC in February.

Timothy Wang played in the 2012 Olympics and is a three-time USA National singles champion in 2010, ’12 and ’13.

Zheng and Feng both won the USA National singles crowns last year to to earn a spots this weekend.