China's awesome foursome of Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike will continue their battle for the two singles spots at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when they compete in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Kuwait Open starting today.
The event, taking place in the Gulf nation despite Kuwait's ongoing suspension from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will mark the first time the quartet have competed since they combined to win a dominant gold at the World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.
All four have won past editions of the Kuwait Open.
World number one Ma won a first of 21 World Tour singles titles there as an 18-year-old in 2007, triumphing again in 2009 and 2015, while Xu Xin also secured his maiden World Tour singles victory in Kuwait in 2010.
Olympic champion Zhang Jike won in 2013 before rising star Fan Zhendong emerged victorious the following year.
Japan's Jun Mizutani also returns after winning in 2012, while Belarus' Vladimir Samsonov will look to roll back the years and reproduce the form that saw him beat three members of the Chinese team, including Ma Long, to win the 2008 event.
Taiwan's Chuang Chih-Yuan and Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov, returning to the circuit after missing the World Team Championships through injury, are also included in a strong international line-up.
China's defending champion Li Xiaoxia will be seeking a fourth title in the women's singles competition.
Her biggest opponents look to be three compatriots who are also former winners: Liu Shiwen, London 2012 Olympic champion Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling.
Action in the main draw is set to begin on Friday (March 18) following two days of qualification.
This began today with pre-rounds of the women's singles as well as the opening stages of competition in male and female under 21 events.
The shock of the day has been produced by Egypt’s Shady Magdy in the men's under 21 event, getting the better of Japan's Tonin Ryuzaki 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-2 in an encounter stretched to the full five sets.