20 Mar 2017

China found themselves a very worthy opponent in the final round of the Olympic Men's Team event. They were confronted by the spirited Japanese Team who successfully challenged the defending champions. In the end, China withstood the test and Ma Long's efforts were recognised.

By Henry Chen

The final round of the Olympic Men’s Team event showed the toughness of the Chinese Team despite the obstacle their adversary presented in the battle.

Jun Mizutani was the biggest obstacle for the Chinese squad. He successfully took a match to level things in 1-1 for Japan. Xu Xin, the person in-charge of that obstacle, fail in a full distance bout of 2-3.

“I think its probably because I didn’t have the initiative in the first two games, especially in the opener. My opponent was also very fierce. I was unstable after I lost the first game. I lost focus and failed the second game as well. There was an opportunity to win in the decider when I was leading in 10-7 but I started to play conservatively at that time. I had another opportunity in 10-9 but I failed to seize it,” Xu Xin explained.

Even though the first-timer and 26-year old Xu Xin failed in the second match against Jun Mizutani, the faith of Liu Guoliang towards his team did not waver.

“I feel that we were not able to play so smoothly this time but what’s important is that the players were able to control the pressure,” said the head coach.

The team indeed delivered what was expected from them in the end, and that was to win. Zhang Jike and Xu Xin secured the Doubles while Ma Long gave a solid performance against Maharu Yoshimura.

It was undoubtedly a team effort from the Chinese camp but Ma Long really stood out in the match. As the going got tough, Ma Long took the opportunity to save the team from more troubles. He finished Maharu Yoshimura in the most intimidating manner of 11-1, 11-4, 11-4.

“Ma Long did not mess up in the fourth match today. I feel that what he did was really great,” Liu Guoliang concluded.

Ma Long after sealing the Chinese victory in the Olympic Men’s Team event. (Photo by ITTFWorld)

Following his successful quest for the Olympic Singles gold, Ma Long also proved that he is equally reliable in the Team event. The head coach recognises all the efforts.

Ma Long, as expected, retains the top spot in the latest world rankings published on Friday, 19th August.

Rio 2016 Rio Men's News Rio Team News ma long xu xin Jun Mizutani chinese team liu guoliang

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