by Ian Marshall
Success for China meant they retained their perfect record in the event; since first staged in 2008 in Beijing, China has always claimed women’s team gold.
Furthermore, they have never surrendered a single match, overall, the record reads 51-0! Can any nation in any Olympic Games discipline compare?
Chen Meng and Wang Manyu gave China the ideal start; they beat Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano in four games (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7).
Sun Yingsha, who had overcome Mima Ito at the semi-final stage of the women’s singles event (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), maintained her ascendancy, she prevailed in four games (11-8, 11-5, 3-11, 11-3) to double the advantage.
Immediately following, Wang Manyu, accounted for Miu Hirano to end matters (11-5, 11-9, 11-3).
Adjusted to Olympic stage
Without question Wang Manyu became increasingly adjusted to the Olympic stage but if any player on debut adjusted, it was Minnie Soo Wai Yam.
She was the heroine for Hong Kong, the no.4 seeds, against Germany, the no.3 seeds; to date the only upset in either the men’s team or women’s team events!
Earlier in the tournament, in the women’s singles, in her very first match, the no.17 seed, she had lost to Spain’s Maria Xiao, the no.43 seed (7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9); on the penultimate day of action in the Metropolitan Gymnasium, that defeat was resigned to history.
After Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching had experienced defeat at the hands of Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 15-13); Minnie Soo Wai Yam overcame the backspin skills of Han Ying in four games (12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7) to turn the tide.
Time and again Germany has relied on Han Ying winning both her singles matches; it was a major blow.
In the third match of the engagement, Doo Hoi Kem proved too consistent for Petrissa Solja (11-5, 11-6, 11-9), setting the scene of Minnie Soo Wai Yam to enjoy the greatest moment of her life.
Composed, she beat Shan Xiaona to end matters (12-10, 13-11, 11-7).
It is the second ever medal won by Hong Kong in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games, the previous was in Athens when Ko Lai Chak and Li Ching won men’s doubles bronze. Notably, Li Ching is the Hong Kong women’s team coach.
Furthermore, also worthy of note is the Hong Kong team is born and bred locally; in previous Olympic Games the team had included players who had learnt their skills in China before transferring allegiance.
Play concludes on Friday 6th August with the men’s team medal fixture.
11.00 Bronze Medal: Japan (3) v Korea Republic (4)
19.30 Gold Medal: China (1) v Germany (2)