03 Jun 2017

Japan’s Maharu YOSHIMURA and Kasumi ISHIKAWA has made history today, 3 June 2017, at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships, claiming Japan’s first World Championships Mixed Doubles Gold medal in 48 years.

The last time the Japanese ever won a World Championships Gold in Mixed Doubles, was back in 1969 when Nobuhiko HASEGAWA  and Yasuko KONNO won gold in Munich, Germany.

The Japanese pair had a hard fought match against Chinese Taipei’s CHEN Chien-An and CHENG I-Ching in front of a capacity crowd at the Messe Düsseldorf before making the amazing feat.

After losing the first two games to the strong duo from Chinese Taipei, the 2015 World Championships Mixed Doubles Silver medalists were reluctant to settle for another silver here in Düsseldorf, fighting their way to make a comeback to win the final 4-3 (8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5).

“I think that is because we lost at the 2015 World Championships final, and we have practiced very hard to reach this goal now,” stated an elated ISHIKAWA. “We’ve played together since we were very little. That’s why understand each other. We are very good friends and we speak about personal things to each other. We encourage each other.”

YOSHIMURA added “She gave me encouraging words. And said let’s go, let try this or that, and let’s go for the gold.”

The Japanese success to claim Gold today at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships is a major complement to the ITTF’s bid to add a Mixed Doubles event as a fifth medal event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

On the possibility of having the Mixed Doubles event at Tokyo 2020, ISHIKAWA shared “I’m very glad that mixed doubles is getting attention here, and of course if there is mixed doubles at Tokyo 2020 then I will go for it.”

In the Women’s Singles, event, Japan’s 17-year-old Miu HIRANO was unable to repeat her success against reigning World & Olympic Champion DING Ning at the Asian Championships. DING was determined to avenge her quarterfinals loss on home soil, giving HIRANO little chance to fight back.

DING eventually prevailed 4-1 (11-4, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5) to advance to the Women’s Singles final for her chance to defend her title against her teammate ZHU Yuling, who defeated 2015 Silver medalist LIU Shiwen to make her first final appearance.

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