by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A three matches to one success was the end result in favour of China but Japan could take great heart; once again, as in the two previous rounds they fielded the Millennium Team, three players born in 2000 and all still only 16 years old.
Against the very best in the world, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen both ten years their senior and Zhu Yuling, 22 years of age, they underlined the fact that they can compete on equal terms.
Miu Hirano, after being overwhelmed by Liu Shiwen in the opening game, responded to capture the second, before causing the player who is no stranger to the top spot on the World Rankings a host of problems. Liu Shiwen won in four games (3-11, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11).
It was an admirable display from Miu Hirano, it was exactly the same from Mima Ito; she gave Ding Ning a torrid time in the opening game before eventually the reigning Olympic and World champion asserted her authority to record a straight game success (13-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Brave performances from Miu Hirano and Mima Ito; the effort made by Hina Hayata was in the same mould; after losing the opening game, she recovered to secure the second against Zhu Yuling before gradually the consistency of the Chinese star told (11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8).
Gold for China in the Women’s Team event at an Asian Championships for the 17th time, for Japan it was a fourth runners up spot.
Meanwhile, for bronze medallists, for Hong Kong it was the sixth time they had finished on the third step of the podium; for Korea Republic, the eleventh occasion.