The Australian Table Tennis Team has been finalised with the addition of five-time Olympian Jian Fang Lay to replace Stephanie Sang following her withdrawal rounding out the six member team.
Fang Lay began her Olympic career in Sydney 2000, competing in the women’s doubles alongside Stella Zhou, since then she’s competed at every games and Tokyo will be her sixth.
Fang Lay’s record speaks for itself, with 13 international competition medals, seven of which were at the Commonwealth games, 24 Oceania titles and 30 national titles. The 48-year-old is truly one of Australia’s all-time table tennis greats.
She’ll join Equestrian Mary Hanna, as Australia’s first women to compete at six Olympic Games for Australia and will be a leader amongst her teammates of second time and debut Olympians.
Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman congratulated Fang Lay on adding another chapter to her Olympic journey.
“What a fantastic Olympic milestone to announce Jian to her sixth Olympic Games,” Mr Chesterman said.
“To make one Olympics is a special achievement. To stay at the top of your game for decades to make six Olympics is a truly rare feat.
“Congratulations to Jian on reaching this next chapter in your Olympic career and to your family, coaches, supporters, friends and teammates who will no doubt be cheering you on in Tokyo from back home.”
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Fang Lay was appreciative to her family and friends for supporting her as heads to her sixth games.
“I am very excited for Tokyo, I am so proud of what I’ve achieved,” Fang Lay said.
“It’s unbelievable! I never would’ve imagined that I’d be the first woman to represent Australia at six Olympics.”
“I hope this will inspire more girls to play table tennis. As long as you have a dream, anything is possible.
“I need to thank my family – husband and two boys – my friends – Warren and Jane – that support me and keep me going. Without their support, without their strength, it would’ve been impossible for me to continue playing table tennis.
“My goal in Tokyo is to do the best I can and get the best result for Australia. Anything is possible. I will fight for one point at a time.”
Table Tennis Australia CEO Scott Houston praised the six-time Olympian for consistently reaching the world stage over the past 20 years.
“Jian is one of the best Australian table tennis players of all time and she is an Australian sporting treasure,” Houston said.
“To maintain her standard on the international stage for more than 20 years is phenomenal.”
“Representing Australia at six Olympic Games is an outstanding achievement and no doubt she will perform strongly once again.
“Special mention also to Jian’s family for their tremendous support, without their help Jian’s longevity would not be possible.”
Australian Table Tennis Team
|Jian Fang Lay||Singles, Teams||6th (2000, 2004, |
2008, 2012, 2016)
|Michelle Bromley||Singles, Teams||Debut|
|David Powell||Singles, Teams||Rio 2016|
|Chris Yan||Singles, Teams||Rio 2016|
|Melissa Tapper||Mixed Doubles, Teams||Rio 2016|
|Heming Hu||Mixed Doubles, Teams||Rio 2016|
The Table Tennis competition will run from 24 July through 6 August.