Over two hours of pulsating action, the final was drama-packed as the finest players from the two nations put on a magnificent show. China couldn’t have asked for a better start as Ma Long and Xu Xin produced an outstanding doubles performance against Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska (11-7, 11-3, 11-9) to gain the early momentum.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov then showcased one of his strongest performances to date in a thrilling encounter with Fan Zhendong, with the German star only just falling short (3-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3). With momentum firmly in China’s favour, Boll put up a valiant effort against Ma, saving multiple gold medal points, but it wasn’t enough to prevent China’s date with destiny (11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7).
“It has been a very memorable journey for us these past two weeks. I struck a really good partnership with Ma Long. We trusted each other and got the job done. We hope to inspire more people with our success and become good role models too,” said Xu Xin.
“Our goal was to win three out of the five matches. We believed in each other even when we were trailing in the game. I’m extremely happy to be able to win the gold medal with Xu Xin and Ma Long. I’ve learnt a lot from them, and these are priceless experiences and memories which I’ll never forget,” said Fan Zhendong.
“We have done well consistently because of the excellent support from all the backroom staff, coaches and technical team. It’s a team effort which has kept us at the top of the game for so long. As professional athletes, we have only got one job to do and that is to win,” said Ma Long.
Another magnificent display from China’s contingent sees the country claim its fourth title from the five contested disciplines at Tokyo 2020, boosting its overall gold medal tally to 32 since the sport’s introduction to the Olympic Games in 1988. Meanwhile, Ma Long becomes the most decorated Olympic table tennis player with five gold medals to his name.
“The reason why China is so dominant in table tennis is because we have a proud tradition and culture in the sport. We are consistently good because we work hard together, generation after generation. Everyone from the coaches to the backroom staff, and players have all made many sacrifices and our performance over the last two weeks here in Tokyo is a validation of our hard work. We have the same goal for every Olympics and that is to win the gold medals each time we compete. It will get tougher each year as it’s like China taking on the rest of the world, especially for the men. For the women, it’s likely to be a close fight between China and Japan as the gap between the two countries is getting smaller,” said Liu Guoliang (President of Chinese Table Tennis Association).
Germany settles for a silver medal finish in the Men’s Team event, repeating its performance achieved at Beijing 2008, and leaves the Japanese capital with two medals following Dimitrij Ovtcharov’s bronze in the Men’s Singles event.
Earlier in the day, third seed Japan secured the Men’s Team bronze medal following a 3-1 victory over number four seed the Republic of Korea. Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa handed the host nation the perfect start as they combined to beat Lee Sangsu and Jeoung Youngsik in the doubles (11-9, 8-11, 15-13, 11-5). Tomokazu Harimoto extended Japan’s lead with his successful outing against Jang Woojin (11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7), but Jeoung’s straight games win over Niwa (11-3, 11-8, 11-7) restored a glimmer of hope for the Korean team. With a place on the podium within sight, Japanese stalwart Mizutani brought the match to a close, toppling Jang in the fourth fixture (14-12, 11-9, 11-8).
Ending its campaign positively, Japan now possesses two Men’s Team medals from the Olympic Games, having won silver in 2016. The result also sees the host nation claim its fourth medal at Tokyo 2020, with further successes in the Mixed Doubles, Women’s Singles and Women’s Team events.
“We are disappointed that we were not able to win the gold medal, but nevertheless, we are still pleased we won the bronze, and this win goes out to all those who have supported us. We knew the opening doubles match was important, and we were confident after securing that first point,” said the Japanese trio.
China’s gold medal victory marks the end of table tennis action at Tokyo 2020. The final results from the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium are as follows:
- Mixed Doubles Gold: Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito (JPN)
- Women’s Singles Gold: Chen Meng (CHN)
- Men’s Singles Gold: Ma Long (CHN)
- Women’s Team Gold: China (CHN)
- Men’s Team Gold: China (CHN)
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Results: ITTF.com and Worldtabletennis.com
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games media notes are available here.