By Henry Chen
If there is one team right now that is able to show huge improvements against the Chinese Team, it would be the Japanese.
Japan has certainly made their presence felt in the international arena, especially during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Jun Mizutani should be given credit for that.
He successfully secured the first ever Olympic medal for Japan in the Men’s Singles. He defeated Vladimir Samsonov for the bronze medal and joined the Chinese players Ma Long and Zhang Jike in the medal podium.
Aside from that, Japan also achieved a remarkable result in the Men’s Team event. They reached the final bout where Mizutani defeated Xu Xin. Although they were defeated by China, Japan still raised their status. It was their first Olympic medal in the Men’s Team event as well.
The Rio Olympic Games have ended. But their upward trend isn’t stopping just yet. This time, credit is given to Miu Hirano.
Just last weekend, Japan achieved their first gold medal in the Women’s World Cup. Miu Hirano, who is just 16 years old, prevailed among other contestants and fought for the ultimate victory.
She accounted for the top seed Feng Tianwei in the penultimate round in six games and swept the second seed Cheng I Ching in the final bout. Two impressive back-to-back performances from a first-timer in the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup.
Miu Hirano, before the competition, said that she would want to win a medal. But after knowing that there will be no Chinese player on duty, she increased her goal. There was a perfect opportunity in sight and she used it well.
Jun Mizutani and Miu Hirano definitely made a huge mark in their respective careers. At the same time, they also raised the bar for the Japanese Team. This new Olympic cycle is extremely important for the Japanese Team as they prepare themselves to have a good fight in Tokyo in 2020.
Their goal is to at least level with the Chinese Team. They know its hard but its not totally impossible. Confidence exists as they know that they are slowly narrowing the gap against the superpower.
It would be exciting to see the Japanese Team to continue on improving themselves and see how they will battle against the Chinese Team in the international circuit.
Who knows, we will have a new superpower come 2020.