Wizolympics 2020: Table Tennis Qualifier
It’s a lovely morning here in Tokyo as we embark on another exciting day of the 492nd Wizolympics. I’m Veritaserum News Network reporter Beatrice Witherthorp. Once again, VNN has teamed up with the Daily Prophet to provide you with the most coverage of the Wizolympic Games.
A fan favorite, table tennis, is about to get underway. Officials had been trying to keep the crowd size down to allow for social distancing, but it would appear they’ve given up since table tennis enthusiasts are difficult to turn away. The stands are now packed. Additional mediwizards have been called in to at least enforce the casting of Bubble-Head Charms. We’ve already seen ten witches and wizards escorted out of the building after refusing to cast their charms so their noses were properly covered.
Today’s match is between South Korea’s Ho-sung Park and Sweden’s Elias Nilsson. The winner will go on to play against China’s Jingfei Liu, who has already secured a place in that final match.
The competitors have now taken up their positions in the ring. The pair are positioned more than six feet apart, which, in this sport, is easy to accomplish since they have a sturdy, wooden table in between them and a glowing line drawn on the ground that they cannot cross.
The referee, Thompson Haggelstorm, is making his way to the center of the arena. What luck for these competitors. Haggelstorm is the referee everyone hopes is assigned to their match. Of course, as the former coach of Britain’s table tennis team, Haggelstorm earned a lot of respect early on in his career, but that’s not why Sweden’s Elias Nilsson is grinning from ear to ear. Now in his 68th year of refereeing at the Wizolympics, Haggelstorm has started to turn a blind eye to rule-breaking in more recent years. To watch the glimmer in his eyes in these instances, you have to think he has come to admire some of the more blatant cheating tactics and gets a kick out of some of the violence that can take place.
Haggelstorm blows his whistle and we’re off.
The table has levitated and both Park and Nilsson have conjured rackets from the tips of their wands and have started batting the piece of solid oak furniture back and forth.
From Park to Nilsson, to Park to Nilsson, and back again!
For any table tennis newcomers, the rules are quite simple. The pair will carry on like this until one of them is unable to return the table back over the line to their opponent, resulting in a point to their opponent. The match ends once one competitor reaches 11 points.
Speaking of points, the first one of this match goes to Park!
The pair has another volley going again. Another point for Park!
Nilsson looks determined, he’s baring his teeth, and there goes the table! It’s flown straight over Park’s head and is in the crowd. At least 50 spectators are now sprawled in the wreckage. I’m not sure what exactly Nilsson is trying to accomplish here, but I’m almost definitely sure it’s not within the rules… Haggelstorm, however, has literally turned his back.
Park is yelling at Haggelstorm to turn around, but he is not successful in getting the referee to do his job. It appears Nilsson has created the distraction he needed and now the table is hurtling out of the wrecked stands and directly at Park, who is still trying in vain to reach the referee. Park has not seen the table whirring straight at him and… ouch! He is flattened to the ground on impact. He, for obvious reasons, cannot return the table to Nilsson’s side of the line, so there it lies.
Haggelstorm has only just now turned around. Seeing the table on the ground on Park’s side of the line, and South Korea’s stand-out star clearly unable to resume play, Haggelstorm is calling the match. Elias Nilsson is the obvious winner, if not by incredibly questionable methods.
Mediwizards are now extricating themselves from the wreckage in the stands, where they had been overseeing the proper casting of the Bubble-Head Charm, and are now carrying Park out of the arena. He will be the 80th table tennis player this year alone to be sent to the medical tents.
Elias Nilsson will go on to face Jingfei Liu in the final match, determining who will win the Galleon medal in table tennis here at the 492nd Wizolympics in Tokyo!
Reporting live in Tokyo, for Veritaserum News Network, I’m Beatrice Witherthorp.