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Olympians enter Golden Racket

Update: June, 30/2011 - 08:41

Follow through: Olympian Doan Kien Quoc will play as part of PetroVietnam team in the Golden Racket International Table Tennis Tournament in HCM City next month. — VNS Photo Quang Thang

Follow through: Olympian Doan Kien Quoc will play as part of PetroVietnam team in the Golden Racket International Table Tennis Tournament in HCM City next month. — VNS Photo Quang Thang

HA NOI — Olympians Doan Kien Quoc, Tran Tuan Quynh, Nguyen Nam Hai and rising star Dinh Quang Linh are set to compete at the Golden Racket International Table Tennis Tournament in HCM City on July 13-17.

Quoc will play as part of the PetroVietnam team in the men's singles, doubles and team events, joined by Nguyen Ngoc Thuan and two foreign players, according to team coach Truong Thoi Nhiem.

"Seeing as our team won the mixed doubles gold medal with the help of Chinese Yang Ce and Yang Xiao Xing at the tournament last year, we again plan to recruit two top foreign players on loan contracts," Nhiem told the Viet Nam News.

"I hope that Quoc will excel in the men's singles, a warm up event for the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia this November."

Quoc, who qualified for the second round at the Beijing Olympics, will lead PetroVietnam in a tough contest against top athletes from Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Known for his left-hand smashes, the 32-year-old is hoping to be on top form in what could be the most important game of the year.

The annual event, run by the HCM City Table Tennis Federation (HTTF) for the last 24 years, was recognised as an official International Table Tennis Federation event in 2009.

According to the HTTF General Secretary Tran Trong Truc, the event is expected to draw 120 players from South Korea, Japan, India, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Viet Nam, to compete in men's and women's singles, doubles, mixed doubles and team events at the 4,000-seat Phan Dinh Phung Gymnasium in HCM City.

"According to recent information, South Korea will be sending its star Lee Jung-woo, ranked 23rd in the world, to compete at the event while other regional teams are just as eager to test their top players before the SEA Games," Truc said.

He added that Vietnamese players would benefit from playing against opponents with differing styles, honing their skills and gaining valuable experience.

In the women's division, Viet Nam top sisters Mai Hoang My Trang, Mai Xuan Hang and teenager Nguyen Thi Viet Linh are set to make big names for themselves at the tournament. — VNS

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