By Henry Chen
Jun Mizutani certainly gave the Japanese Men’s Team a successful trip in Rio de Janeiro. With his efforts, Japan got the first ever Olympic medal in the Men’s Singles event. Jun Mizutani clinched the bronze medal after he defeated the veteran Vladimir Samsonov.
The 27-year old player was also successful in the Men’s Team event. Reaching the finals, Jun Mizutani finally achieved something he has been working for. That is defeating a Chinese player. Mizutani overcame Xu Xin in the second match in 3-2.
The Japanese player felt that they didn’t really have a chance against the Chinese Team before. For him, the gap between them was so difficult to lessen. However, the Rio Olympic Games gave him a different perspective.
“In the past, there was indeed an unattainable gap. It was like no matter how I play, I could not do anything. The Chinese strength is just too strong. But the Rio Olympic Games allowed me to get rid of that feeling,” Jun Mizutani said.
Jun Mizutani is one of the talented and strong players in the men’s division. He is the highest ranking player from the Japanese Team in the world. However, beating the main players of the Chinese Team was his deficit.
In this year’s Kuwait Open, Mizutani came very close to defeating China’s Xu Xin in the Men’s Singles quarterfinals. He led in 10-4 in the decisive game before he allowed Xu Xin to secure the next eight points to victory.
Jun Mizutani lost that match. But in Rio, he finally did it, and in a much bigger scale.
“Four years ago, when I was in the London Olympic Games, I never thought that the gap will decrease to such degree. Now, I think that through hard work, I would be able to really narrow the gap,” he added.
In the Beijing Olympic Games, Jun Mizutani was eliminated in the round 32. Four years after, he was swept by the Danish star Michael Maze. His performance in Rio Olympic Games is considered to be his best record yet. He hopes to continue the momentum until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Of course, winning over the Chinese Team is not that simple. But there is still four years before the Tokyo Olympic Games,” concluded Jun Mizutani.