21 Mar 2017

First match in an Olympic Games is a daunting prospect but if one player acclimatised quickly to the situation and, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games played as though he was on duty for the umpteenth time, it was 23 year old Maharu Yoshimura.

On the afternoon of Saturday 13th August, the young man who was not in contention for a place in the Japanese team in London was sent out to lead the line.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Four years ago he was listed at no.108 on the Men’s World Rankings, he now stands at no.21; in Rio de Janeiro he repaid the faith of Yosuke Kurashima, the Japanese Men’s Team National Coach. He beat Wang Zengyi in four games (10-12, 11-6, 17-15, 11-4) to set Japan en route to a four-one over Poland.

Style from Yesteryear

It was a most impressive performance by the young man from Iberaki Prefecture, which borders Tokyo. Wang Zengyi, 33 years old, is a player of far greater experience and with a style not common in the modern era.

“I was nervous before the match but I quickly found a rhythm to my play and I became more and more confident as the match progress; Wang Zengyi has a different style of play to most players but I was able to adapt. It did not cause me great problems.” Maharu Yoshimura

Seoul 1988

He is a right handed pen-hold grip player very much in the style that was popular before table tennis was ever staged in an Olympic Games. In fact we have to go back to Seoul in 1988 to see that style of play gaining success.

Notably in the Korean capital city China’s Chen Longcan and Wei Quingguang won the Men’s Doubles title; Kim Kaitaek was the Men’s Singles silver medallist.

Extended Advantage

Success for Maharu Yoshimura was followed with success for Jun Mizutani, bronze medallist in the Men’s Singles event and very much a man in form.

However, he was tested, he needed four games (14-12, 11-9, 0-11, 12-10) to overcome 20 year Jakub Dyjas, very much one of Europe’s most promising young players.


Japan two matches to nil ahead, Poland mounted a recovery.

Jakub Dyjas and Daniel Gorak beat Maharu Yoshimura and Koki Niwa (7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9), before Jakub Dyjas overcame Koki Niwa (11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8) to level matters. Alas for Poland, there was to be no completion of the recovery; Jun Mizutani accounted for Daniel Gorak to secure a Japanese victory (11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9).

Hong Kong Impressive

Success for Japan; at the quarter-final stager, Hong Kong, the 5 seeds await.

Impressively the trio comprising Tang Peng, Wong hun Ting and Ho Kwan Kit overcame the Australian trio of David Powell, Yan Xin and Heming Hu by three matches to nil.

Tang Peng beat David Powell (11-7, 11-8, 11-1), Wong Chun Ting overcame Yan Xin before Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting combined to defeat Heming Hu and Yan Xin to conclude matters (11-2, 11-6, 11-8).


The quarter-final contest is scheduled for 3.00pm on Sunday 14th August.




Rio 2016 Rio Men's News Rio Team News Maharu Yoshimura

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