David Zhuang Loses in Preliminary Round
(Beijing, China) - Three-time Olympian David Zhuang (West Windsor, N.J.) lost in the preliminary round, 4-3, at the Olympic Games on Tuesday.
After splitting his first two games against Segun Toriola (NGR), 11-8 and 8-11, Zhuang looked to be on fire, nearly shutting out his opponent, 11-2 in a three-minute game.
Zhuang lost the next game, 6-11 and reclaimed his lead in the fifth after winning 11-9 to lead the match three games to two.
Zhuang needed only one more win to take the match, but Toriola controlled the next two which he won 11-7 and 11-8.
"I have to give my opponent credit. He's a top player who plays professionally," Zhuang said. "In 2004, I beat him and I had my chance, but I was just a little bit short."
Toriola had the advantage of competing in the team competition last week prior to the start of the singles divisions on Tuesday while Zhuang - the lone U.S. man in the tournament - was not eligible to compete in the team event.
"When you're stayed 18 days to play only one match, it's hard to get into it," Zhuang said. "I'm a little disappointed, but other than that I'm happy to be at the Olympics again."
A native of China, Zhuang received a great deal of support from the crowd during his match.
"There were a lot of people cheering, so it was definitely a home fort feeling. Normally foreigners don't have that kind of support," 45-year-old Zhuang said. "This is my last international tournament and I'm happy to end my career in Beijing since I learned the sport here.
When asked if he was definitely done competing 12 years after his Olympic debut in 1996, Zhuang let out a loud laugh: "Well maybe! You never know!"