Planning our ticket applications to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Watching table tennis at the Olympics has been a long-time dream of mine, and I want to go to Tokyo 2020 in particular because of its relatively close proximity from Singapore, and it might be the last chance to see any of our players at this Olympic Games. (The foreign talent scheme has proven to be a short-term solution to spark local interests in sports — and even more criticisms that came along — but that is a post for another time.)

The only channel to purchase the Tokyo 2020 tickets for Singapore residents is through Kingdom Sports Group, an exclusive authorized reseller based in Sydney. You can choose from various tour packages (inclusive of tickets, accommodation, etc.), or try your luck applying for a limited number of standalone tickets which will be done through a lottery system. Should there be any leftover tickets, they will be released on a first-come-first-serve basis at a later date.

Since my friend & I are only interested in watching table tennis and hopefully get the chance to cheer on our Singaporean players, it makes more sense (financially and logistically) for us to get the standalone tickets, while taking the risk that we might not be able to get any tickets at all.

With an imposed limit on the tickets we could apply for (i.e. maximum 5 sessions per person/address/application), we had to look at the recent performance of our players.

Our favorite player, Feng Tianwei, may have been past her prime but remains as a strong contender in Women’s Singles. If all goes well from now till the Asian Qualification Event next April, she should start from Round 3 at the Olympics.

The women’s team hasn’t been faring well at international events. The new generation of players had big shoes to fill after Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu retired, but they haven’t been able to step up to the former players’ level yet, with only FTW holding the fort in recent years. Currently ranked sixth in the world, progressing beyond the quarterfinals look challenging for the team this time.

Sadly for the Men’s Singles, Men’s Team, and Mixed Doubles which will make its debut at the upcoming Olympics, it’s unlikely we will have SGP reps in these events, so we are quite certain to exclude them from our consideration.

It was time for us to choose which 10 sessions to apply via KSG’s website, and the landing page looks like this:

Landing page of the ticket application on KSG’s website.

For each session, we see the sport, date and time, then some meager information about the types of matches and seating categories.

The types of matches are categorized into (1) Regular Priority Non Medal Match, (2) High Priority Non Medal Match, and (3) High Priority Medal Match — not very helpful for us to know which events will be held during each session. There are also three seat categories, which we know they are all reserved seatings but no prices are stated here.

For example, I’m interested in watching Women’s Singles Round 3 with a budget of S$150 per session, I won’t know where to find them unless I refer to the schedule on Tokyo 2020’s official website:

Overview schedule of all sports on Tokyo 2020’s official website.

…then check the schedules by day:

…before I know which sessions I should search on the KSG’s website. Finally I’m presented with the following details we need to know:

Session’s matches and prices.

It took us quite some time to navigate back and forth between KSG and Tokyo 2020’s websites. Hence to make our decision-making easier, I created the following table with all the details we need:

Dates, timings, matches, prices and session codes — everything we need to know at a glance.

We narrowed our decisions down to 6 sessions – Women’s Singles Round 3, Round of 16, and Quarterfinals, because we are placing our hopes on FTW to progress as far as possible in the event.

Since we had the capacity for 4 more sessions, we also decided to try our luck on the big matches – both Men’s and Women’s Singles Semifinals and Finals. Here are the sessions which we have placed our bets on submitted in our applications:

The form submission was seamless. We received an e-mail acknowledgment with a reminder that the results will be out on the 23rd this month.

Considering how table tennis is such a popular sport in Japan, it’s not surprising if most of the seats are given to the Japanese (and not forgetting powerhouse China). Hours before we submitted our applications, the Tokyo 2020 organizers announced that local ticket demand for Olympics exceeded their expectations. Sounds like bad news for the overseas fans.

Fingers crossed for us. Best of health and luck for Feng Tianwei.

Feature image by Claudia Peters from Pixabay.

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