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Olympics - Womens Team Event Guide

Women’s Team – Table Tennis Olympic Event Guide (Updated for Paris 2024)

The women’s team event at the Olympics is the most important women’s international team competition in table tennis, alongside the World Team Table Tennis championships held every 2 years. 

Normally a highly individual sport, this is a rare occasion that we get to see the best table tennis players represent their country as a team. 

In this exciting team competition, we’ll see the best players in the world clash against each other to attain the most important prize an athlete could ever dream of: Olympic gold.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about the structure, schedule, and stats of the women’s team event, historically, and for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics. Let’s begin!

Women’s Team Event Structure

The women’s team event structure is as follows: 

16 nations will qualify for the event, and they will face each other in a single elimination bracket. With 16 participating countries, the event starts at the round of 16 which means a team needs to win just 4 matches to earn Olympic gold.

There will be 3 players per national team, and each round will be played in a 3v3 format.

Each match-up stages 5 individual matches and whoever takes 3 wins goes through to the next stage. The match ends once either team reaches 3 wins.

Out of the 5 matches, there are 4 singles matches and 1 doubles match. However, the order of the matches hasn’t been disclosed yet. In the previous Tokyo Olympics, the doubles match was played first, followed by the 4 singles matches.

This has historically meant that the doubles match is crucial, as it sets the tone for the match and gives teams a huge lead going into the singles matches.

The team that loses the doubles match then has to win 3 out of the 4 singles matches to win the round, so, provided that the format is the same as the previous Olympics, we’ll have tons of exciting doubles matches to watch.

As there are 3 players per team, 2 of the players will play the doubles matches together and a singles match, and the remaining player will play 2 singles matches. Each player gets to play 2 matches in total.

How to Qualify for Paris 2024

The 16 nations will qualify by meeting the following criteria:

  1. France have qualified automatically because they’re the host country.
  2. 6 nations qualify by winning their designated continental qualifying tournament (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania).
  3. The 8 nations that reach the quarter-finals of the 2024 Busan World Table Tennis Championships qualify automatically.
  4. The last spot will be attributed to the highest-ranked nation in the ITTF World Team Ranking list of March 2024 that hasn’t qualified by any of the other means by that time.

The nations that have qualified by having won their continental qualifying competition are China, Germany, Brazil, USA, Australia, and Egypt.

An additional 5 nations have qualified through reaching the quarter-finals of the WTTC team event. Those are South Korea, Japan, Romania, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), and Hong Kong.

That means there are four remaining slots will be allocated to the top-ranked teams in the ITTF World Team Rankings. Those will most likely be Puerto Rico, Singapore, Portugal, and Slovakia.

Australia are the only team to qualify who are not in the top 16 of the world rankings, sitting in 25th at the time of writing.

Womens Team Qualifiers (After WTTC)

Paris 2024 Top Seeds

As we said before, the official seeding has not been released yet, but we do know the strongest countries in terms of the best players from each team.

The strongest countries are China, Japan, South Korea and Germany, in that order (judging from the ITTF rankings of their players). 

If we analyze the ITTF rankings, there’s a big gap between China and Japan, there’s another big gap between Japan and Korea, and the same holds true for Korea and Germany.

The favorites to win Olympic gold are China, by far.

The top 4 in the world are all Chinese, and, given that only 3 players can participate in the event, China’s team will likely be the world top 3.

Sun Yingsha is nearly guaranteed to participate, as she has a 4000+ points gap to the #2 player, Wang Yidi.

China-Women-Players-Ranking

However, the other 2 players that will make it to the Olympic team are not so clear cut, as less than 400 points separate the world #2 player (Wang Yidi) with the world #4 player (Wang Manyu).

The Chinese coaches have a very difficult decision to make, as these 3 players are very close in skill levels, and they all deserve a spot in the team.

This is why the Chinese team is just so strong. Their 4th best player should beat every other non-Chinese player in the circuit, and even then, they wouldn’t make the cut to play in the women’s national team.

The second best team is Japan. They have a very strong team consisting of WR #5 Hina Hayata, WR #10 Mima Ito and WR #14 Miwa Harimoto or WR #16 Miu Hirano.

Hina Hayata and Mima Ito
Hina Hayata and Mima Ito. Source: Japantimes

This is a very, very strong team, and we believe they’re a step above all the other countries except for China. If there’s one team that can beat China on a good day, it is Japan.

Korea’s team is very strong as well. Their team will likely consist of WR #8 Shin Yubin, WR #15 Joo Cheonhui, and WR #23 Jeon Jihee.

Finally, the fourth strongest team in terms of ranking points is Germany. Their team will almost surely be WR #9 Ying Han, WR #24 Nina Mittelham and WR #34 Shan Xiaona.

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Paris 2024 Match Schedule

The schedule of the women’s team event is as follows:

Women's Team Olympic Table Tennis Schedule

On Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th August, the first round will be played. That means we’ll get 4 matches each day. 

After that, the quarter finals will be played on Wednesday 7th, the semifinals on Thursday 8th, before the final and 3rd / 4th place match on Friday 9th.

Women’s Team Event History

The history of this event is all about China. Here’s a chart displaying all of the medallists per year.

Women's-Team-Olympic-Table-Tennis

As you can see, China has never lost. But what does never losing mean?

China has not only never lost a series, but they have also never lost a single match. Yes, you read that right, China has won every single series 3-0 ever since the introduction of the event in 2008.

It is one of the most dominant records from any Olympic sport, without a doubt.

We ran the math, and it turns out that China is 51-0 when it comes to individual matches. We also looked at how many games they won and lost, and they are 153-14.

It’s no wonder they’re the favorites, as they are yet to lose a single individual match. However, we believe this is the second most impressive record when it comes to China in the women’s team event.

The most impressive record is that the Chinese womens team have never lost any individual matches 3-2. 
The best result anyone has ever got against a Chinese player in the women’s team event is a 3-1 defeat. Nobody has even come close to beating them. They’ve never played a 5th “decider” game.

The-Chinese-Women’s-team-Tokyo-2020
The Chinese Women’s team with their Tokyo 2020 gold medals. Source: Reuters

Comparing this to the similarly dominant Chinese Mens team, the men have won every Olympic gold available and they’ve also never lost a series, but they have lost 3 individual matches, showing that it’s possible to win individual matches again the Chinese Men’s team in the Olympics.

To this date, nobody has even come close to beating the women’s team. That’s why they’re by far the favorites to win once again in dominant fashion.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Chinese can continue their unbeaten run. Even if they win a match 3-2, they’ll lose one of their records. 

As for the other nations, historically, the second most successful team is Japan. They are also looking like the strongest second team at these Paris 2024 Olympics.

Japan has won 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal. They have reached 2 Olympic finals, and they’ve lost both finals against China 3-0.

This year, the Japanese team will have a third go at upsetting the Chinese, and they’re looking stronger than ever.

The other nations that have won medals at the Olympics are Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and South Korea.

Singapore and Hong Kong have similar stories. Unlike Germany and South Korea, these nations aren’t regarded as table tennis powerhouses.

In fact, Singapore and Hong Kong aren’t very strong at the Olympics altogether. 

Ever since their debut in the Olympics across all sports, Hong Kong has won 9 Olympics medals, and Singapore has only 5 to their name, 2 of which were won in the women’s team event. 

In contrast, Germany has a total of 655 medals to their name, and South Korea has won 287. 

The Singaporean team led by former WR #2 Feng Tianwei was able to win a silver medal in 2008 and a bronze medal in 2012. These teams also fielded former WR #3 Li Jiawei and WR #9 Yu Mengyu.

The Singaporean team London 2012

As for Hong Kong, they were able to win a bronze medal in 2020 with a team composed of Doo Hoi Kem, Lee Ho Ching, and Minnie Soo.

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The Controller

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

Blade: Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC | Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09c | Backhand: Butterfly Rozena
Playstyle: The Controller

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