In the Excel N1 arena – the perfect home for Table Tennis during the games the basic court configuration has been changed. We have gone from four courts down to one as the singles events progressed into the final stage. Suddenly things are very different for the athletes and the coaches as everybody is watching the same thing and athletes can no longer partly “hide” from the Olympic pressure on one of the four courts. Instead all the close to 5000 pair of eyes showing so far for all the London 2012 Table Tennis sessions ( can you believe it ?!) is now watching the same thing – the action on the centercourt.
It’s always a funny thing how some athletes like that and some don’t. Two of the Men’s singles quarterfinals – one yesterday and one today featured athletes that for some reason came unprepared for the Olympic spotlight. To be brutally honest – and that’s what the Eleven Point Blog is all about it was at times painful to watch the Romanian Adrian CRISAN getting undressed in his match against CHUAN Chi Yuan yesterday evening. I don’t know Crisan personally and I am not sure how he prepared for London 2012. Maybe he never imagined to turn around a pretty average season on the international circuit by winning against Timo Boll in the round of sixteen here in London – because how would you otherwise explain both comments made after the match and the fact that he never, nor did his ( I would imagine temporary coach ?) ITTF Board of Director member Mr. Christinel Romanescu take a timeout to gather his thoughts despite going down faster than a rock thrown in the waters. I have known Mr. Romanescu for many years now as a respectable official in the ETTU and ITTF circles. I am sure that he is running the Romanian Association in good and orderly manners. But coaching at the Olympic Games – in the quarterfinals? Give me a break!
Here are some flash quotes offered to the world media after his match yesterday night, to use a well-known British expression – Not exactly my cup of tea!.. and please let it hang out there as the things NOT to SAY when competing at this level .
Adrian CRISAN (ROU): “I knew I would lose to him”
On today’s match: “It was difficult. I didn’t like it from the beginning. He is my best friend in table tennis. I knew I would lose to him, he is in great form. I just wanted to grab a set or two and try and go from there. That was my only hope. I played very badly and found it hard to concentrate. ”
On his tactics for the match: “I didn’t have a tactic I just wanted to gain a couple of sets, I know he is much better than me.”
On his tournament performance: “Yesterday was my high (beating No.3 seed Timo BOLL, GER). I couldn’t bring myself down quick enough to prepare for today’s match. I felt so good yesterday. Today I didn’t.”
Unfortunately for Japanese Table Tennis the other example on; “here I am – please take me away quickly “ was the Japanese twenty-four year old, world ranked twenty one ; Seiya KISHIKAWA. Don’t get me wrong , or take these comments the negative way – but I have a hard time when players and coaches makes very little effort to identify and repair the bleeding obvious ( to use a Mr. Fawlty expression) . “Kishi” is a good table tennis players and I can assure you that there are easier things in life than playing WANG Hao in the Olympic quarterfinals. However – you need to show ENERGY – you MUST act confident – you MUST utilize your chances and you BETTER come with you game in order. This was not the case this morning when KISHIKAWA got a total of twelve points in 23 minutes of play against the Chinese top seed – much to the disappointment of a well prepared and “eager for some Olympic action” capacity crowd .