06 Aug 2021

Top seed China has successfully defended its Women’s Team gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following a 3-0 victory over host nation Japan at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Thursday 5th August.

China was pushed hard right from the opening stages of the gold medal match with Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano, making life difficult for Chen Meng and Wang Manyu. But the latter pair performed well in the face of pressure to close out a four-game win (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7).

Sun Yingsha and Mima Ito then met for the second time at Tokyo 2020 following their semi-finals clash in the Women’s Singles event. Two players who bring out the best in each other every time they take to the table, the 20-year-old stars played out another fiery contest which once again went in Sun’s favour (11-8, 11-5, 3-11, 11-3) to put China 2-0 ahead. Returning to the table for the second time, Wang produced a faultless display against Hirano (11-5, 11-9, 11-3) to put the result beyond any doubt.

“The first match was very important, and it was important for us to win to settle the nerves. The Japanese put up a very good fight, and it was something that we expected from them. After winning the opening match, we were very relieved and felt more confident. My teammates believed in me and gave me lots of encouragement. I’m very grateful for their support,” said Wang Manyu.

“We prepared ourselves well for the final, and we played really well. This gold medal goes out to everyone who has supported me, the team, coaches, fans and everyone who has played a big role in my development, especially my family. This is also our gift to China,” said Sun Yingsha.

“This is a different feeling as it’s a team effort, and the three of us all played our part in winning the gold medal. There are also many unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes to get us to the podium tonight so, we also want to say thank you to all of them. We will continue to work hard. We are still in our prime and are in good form. We will take a short break for now and plan our schedule after that,” said Chen Meng.

The result sees China maintain its unbeaten record in the Women’s Team event, standing atop the medals podium for the fourth consecutive occasion. China now boasts 31 gold medals across all table tennis disciplines at the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, Japan has collected two silver medals and one bronze since the category’s introduction in 2008 and has now won its third medal at Tokyo 2020 following the gold and bronze medal successes achieved in the Mixed Doubles and Women’s Singles events in week one. Consequently, Mima Ito becomes the first player in table tennis history to win three medals at a single Olympic Games, taking home gold, silver and bronze in Tokyo.

“I have no idea what the future holds for now. I will take a good rest for now and plan for it later. But I was just glad I had the opportunity to play with my junior teammates and compete in another Olympic Games,” said Kasumi Ishikawa.

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

Hong Kong, China, seeded fourth, takes home the bronze medal following its 3-1 victory over third seed Germany. Soo Wai Yam Minnie was the standout player, earning a brace of wins over Han Ying (12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7) and Shan Xiaona (12-10, 13-11, 11-7), with Hong Kong, China’s third success coming courtesy of Doo Hoi Kem, who beat Petrissa Solja (11-5, 11-6, 11-9). Germany’s sole win arrived in the doubles as Shan and Solja saw off Lee Ho Ching and Doo (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 15-13).

A bronze medal finish sees Hong Kong, China claim its first-ever Women’s Team medal at the Olympic Games and arrives 17 years after its only other table tennis medal win, a Women’s Doubles silver, at Athens 2004.

“It’s totally unbelievable and the best day of my life! I’m really happy to have played my part in clinching the winning point for us. We have been improving in every match, and we were confident despite going down in the first match,” said Soo Wai Yam Minnie.

The final day of table tennis action at Tokyo 2020 is scheduled for Friday 6th August as Japan meets the Republic of Korea in the Men’s Team bronze medal match at 11.00 local time, before China and Germany go for gold at 19.30.

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