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2020 US Olympic Trials - What's Going to Happen

By Larry Hodges | Feb. 27, 2020, 11:23 a.m. (ET)


Making the Men's Preliminary Draws. Seated at the table, L-R: Competition Manager Mas Hashimoto, National Referee Umpire Steve Lee, Tournament Director/Deputy Referee Linda Hsing (Dan Seemiller and Joey Cochrane looking over her shoulder), and High Performance Director Sean O'Neill. Photo by Larry Hodges.

Here is the 2020 US Olympic Trials Home Page. If you can make it to Santa Monica College, come to the gymnasium and you'll see four days of intense action! Here's info on Getting Tickets. I will be sending regular articles to USATT Media and Communications Director Matt Hetherington, who will then post them on the USATT News page. (Alas, there will be no livestreaming or videos as NBC Sports has rights to those.)

Here are where Draws and Results will be posted in Omnipong. All matches are best of seven. Here is the Schedule, which will make better sense after you read the below. There will an award ceremony on Sunday at 4:00 PM.

Things got started (at least for me, though others have spent massive amounts of time setting things up) on Wednesday, Feb. 26, with a 6PM Tournament Meeting at the playing hall. As many of the players watched, the Men's Preliminary Draw was created. Creating it were Tournament Director/Deputy Referee Linda Hsing, Competition Manager Mas Hashimoto, High Performance Director Sean O'Neill, and National Umpire Steve Lee. (Tournament Referee Joe Yick arrives on Thursday.)

So . . . what happens next? It's all from the Event Prospectus, which includes the Trials Playing Format.

Men's Trials

There are 54 players. (Here's the Omnipong listing, by rating.) The top eight seeds are seeded to the Stage 1 Round Robin. There are two Qualifiers to decide the other eight players in Stage 1. Once they get down to the Final Sixteen (Stage 1), there will be two groups of eight. Once both groups have played out, the top four from each group will advance to Stage 2, another round robin of eight players. The three matches they played against others advancing from their group carry over, so they will have four more matches. The top two finishers make the US Men's Olympic Team, along with Kanak Jha, who qualified based on his world #25 ranking. (Here's the 2020 Olympic Selection Procedure Update Announced by USA Table Tennis.)

Seeding is based on world ranking for those in the top 250 in the world, and then on rating. Based on that, the top eight seeds in the Men's Trials, and seeded to Stage 1, are:

  1. Kai Zhang (world #172, rated 2642)

  2. Nikhil Kumar (world #178, rated 2692)

  3. Nicholas Tio (world #234, rated 2592)

  4. Xin Zhou (2730)

  5. Jishan Liang (2668)

  6. Sharon Alguetti (2658)

  7. Yijun "Tom" Feng 2640)

  8. Gal Alguetti (2626)

 

The Qualifier will have two parts. Thirty players (those seeded outside the top 24) will play a Men's Qualifier to the Quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 27. Round One matches will play at 11:00 and 11:45 AM, and Round Two (the round before the quarterfinals) at 1:15 PM. Most will have to win two matches to reach the quarterfinals, with the top two seeds (Aditya Godhwani 2401 and Roy Ke 2391) getting byes and so only needing to win one match.

Perhaps the most interesting match in the Men's Qualifier is the likely second-round clash between 65-year-old five-time US Men's Champion Dan Seemiller (2322) versus 46-year-old former junior star and Pan Am Team Member Chi-Sun Chui (2339).

The Final Eight from the Men's Qualifier will join seeds 9-24 in eight groups of three. Those round robin groups will be played Thursday afternoon at 4:00, 4:45, and 5:30 PM. The eight group winners will join the top eight in Stage 1.

Stage 1 will last two days, with four matches on Friday, Feb. 28 (12:15, 1:45, 7:15, and 7:45 PM), and three on Leap Day, Saturday, Feb. 29 (12:15, 1:45, 5:30 PM).

Stage 2 starts on Saturday night with one round (7:00 PM), and the final three on Sunday, March 1 (10:45 AM, 12:15, 3:15 PM).

So, how many matches does a player have to play to make the Men's Olympic Team? The eight players seeded to Stage 1 will play up to 11 matches (seven in Stage 1, four in Stage 2). The next 16 players (seeds 9-16) will play up to 13 matches, with an additional two matches in the Qualifier. Players seeded outside the top 24 could play up to 15 matches, with two additional matches in the Men's Preliminaries.

Women's Trials

There are 19 players. (Here's the Omnipong listing, by rating.) The top 15 seeds are seeded to the Stage 1 Round Robin. The other four players will play a Women's Preliminary, with the winner joining the other 15 players in Stage 1. Those four are Kayleigh Cui (2102), Kylie Lam (2099), Kayla Goodwin (2065), and Sreenidhi Saravanan (1730). The three rounds will be played on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 12:30, 2:00, and 2:45 PM.

Once they get down to the Final Sixteen (Stage 1), there will be two groups of eight. Once both groups have played out, the top four from each group will advance to Stage 2, another round robin of eight players. The three matches they played against others advancing from their group carry over, so they will have four more matches. The top two finishers make the US Women's Olympic Team, along with Lily Zhang, who qualified based on her world #28 ranking. (Here's the 2020 Olympic Selection Procedure Update Announced by USA Table Tennis.)

Seeding is based on world ranking for those in the top 250 in the world, and then on rating. Based on that, the top eight seeds in the Women's Trials are:

  1. Yue Wu (world #30, 2483)

  2. Amy Wang (world #145, 2499)

  3. Juan Liu (2651)

  4. Huijing Wang (2498)

  5. Crystal Wang (2482)

  6. Angela Guan (2458)

  7. Chen Wang (2457)

  8. Rachel Sung (2414)

 

Previous Articles

Here are some previous USATT articles on the players in the Trials: