The Olympic underdog you’ve never heard of: Australian mother of two, 48, competing in her SIXTH Games storms into third round of table tennis
Australian mother of two, Jian Fang Lay, has advanced to the third round of the women’s table tennis tournament in Tokyo, marking a good start to her record-equaling sixth Olympics.
The veteran upset 28th-seeded Li Qian of Poland in a six-game battle on Monday, winning 11-7 11-6 5-11 10-12 11-4 11-4.
The 48-year-old will face Germany’s 12th seed, Han Ying, a quarterfinalist in Rio 2016 on Tuesday.
Fang Lay is one win away from setting a new benchmark for her best ever Games, having already matched a third round in Rio de Janeiro.
But this run is arguably more remarkable, having initially missed the roster for Tokyo.
Australian mother of two Jian Fang Lay has made it to the third round of table tennis the
Fang Lay was not added to the Australian Olympic contingent until the end of June as a replacement for Stephanie Sang, who withdrew for personal reasons.
In doing so, she equaled the record of equestrian veteran Mary Hanna by representing Australia at six Olympic Games.
Fang Lay lost momentum after dropping the third and fourth games of Monday’s 52-minute game, but held up quickly and had no trouble taking the win.
The Chinese-born Victorian had six match points up his sleeve but only needed one, celebrating with a fist pump and a big smile.
Fang Lay moved to Melbourne in 1994, competed in her first Australian National Championships in 1995 and then made her Olympic debut in Sydney 2000.
Fellow Victorian David Powell was outclassed in his round two loss to Slovakian 24th seed Yang Wang.
Powell, who went down 11-4 11-4 11-3 11-3 in 29 minutes, will return to Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday for Sunday’s men’s team event.
Fang Lay is one win away from setting a new benchmark for its best Games ever