by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the final hurdle they overcame the DPR Korea duo of Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae (10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10), having earlier accounted for Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Lee Eunhye by the very narrowest of seven games decisions (9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 12-10, 6-11, 14-12, 11-9).
In the counterpart penultimate round contest, Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae had beaten Minami Ando and Rika Suzuki in an equally close engagement (11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 11-13, 7-11, 8-11, 14-12) and thus prevented an all Japanese final.
“We had a very tight schedule today. I had to play three single matches, so it’s a big consumption of energy and physical strength. Therefore my performance was not good but I gave my best in every match. In the final, we told ourselves it doesn’t matter even if we lose, just play. Actually our opponents in semi-final were much stronger than us. We just kept attacking. Our communication was very good thanks to my partner; that’s the reason why we could win.”
Gold for Ayami Narumoto meant that she added a second medal to her collection; two days earlier alongside Minami Ando and Rika Suzuki, she had been a member of the Japanese outfit that had finished in runners up spot in the Women’s Team event. In the final they had lost to Korea Republic who included Jeon Jihee and Lee Eunhye in their line-up. The semi-final Women’s Doubles win was sweet revenge.
No doubt the defeat was a motivating factor but perhaps there was one more ingredient.
“I admire Ai Fukuhara a lot and I really hope I can be her kind of player. She supports us, she plays so well and she has such nice attitude. She is the kind of idol you would want to learn from.” Ayami Narumoto
Success for Japan in the Women’s Doubles event, on a day when three rounds of the Women’s Singles competition were held, however, for Japan, in the latter, medal hopes are over.
Rei Yamamoto was beaten in the round of the last 32 players by DPR Korea’s Kim Nam Hae (11-4, 11-5, 5-11, 13-11, 11-5). Later in the round prior to the last eight, Rika Suzuki suffered at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu (11-4, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7), Ayami Narumoto was beaten by DPR Korea’s Choe Hyon Hwa (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5).
Meanwhile, at the quarter-final stage, Minami Ando experienced defeat at the hands of Kim Song I, like Choe Hyon Hwa from DPR Korea (11-6, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7, 11-6).
At the semi-final stage, Kim Song I meets Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching; Romania’s Bernadette Szocs opposes Korea’s Jeon Jihee.
Cheng I-Ching reserved her place in the last four courtesy of success against Irina Ciobanu, also from Romania (11-7, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4); Bernadette Szocs beat Chen Szu-Yu (11-4, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7), Jeon Jihee ended the hopes of DPR Korea’s Choe Hyon Hwa (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 15-13, 6-11, 11-8).
The semi-finals and final of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Tuesday 29th August, the closing day of action in the table tennis events at the 2017 Summer Universiade.
2017 Summer Universiade: Table Tennis Events – Tuesday 22nd to Tuesday 29th August