China’s Ma Long will get a shot at winning a sixth Olympic gold medal in Paris in August despite having been denied the chance to claim a third straight singles title at his fourth Summer Games.

The 14-times world champion, now 35, won team golds at all three of his previous Games and back-to-back men’s singles titles in Rio and Tokyo to become the most successful Olympic table tennis player of all time.

Wang Chuqin and Fan Zhendong, who lost to Ma in the Tokyo final, were named as China’s entries for the singles last week but Ma was confirmed by the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) on Tuesday as the third player for the team tournament.

There were no surprises in the women’s team who will seek to continue China’s domination of the sport with the lineup for Paris identical to that which swept the board in Tokyo.

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Reigning champion and world number two Chen Meng and world number one Sun Yingsha will again compete in the women’s singles and join up with world number three Wang Manyu in the team event, where China are also defending champions.

China have won 32 of the 37 golds and 60 of the 155 total medals since the sport was introduced to the Summer Olympics in 1988 and the competition just to get a spot on the national team is fierce.

The mixed doubles, a new event in Tokyo, was the one gold medal China missed out on three years ago and Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, who top the world rankings, will pair up to try and end that anomaly in Paris.

World number fours Liang Jingkun and Wang Yidi will be the substitute players for the men’s and women’s teams respectively, the CTTA said in a statement.

The 2024 Olympic table tennis tournament will take place at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles from July 27 to August 10.

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