Pattaya, Thailand, Sept 29, 2015: China has showed us again that they are the dominant force in table tennis by claiming both the men’s and women’s team gold at the Suzuki 2015 ITTF-Asian Table Tennis Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.
In both the finals, China met a young spirited Japanese team, but the reigning World and Asian Champions were too fast and too strong, and defended their titles in style.
The Chinese men’s team was without the world champion and their team captain MA Long who was ruled out with a back injury. This did not stop the powerful Chinese team represented by XU Xin, FAN Zhendong and ZHANG Jike beating Japan. The trio faced off Japanese rising stars, Maharu YOSHIMURA, Koki NIWA, and Yuya OSHIMA, and eventually prevailed 3-0 to win their ninth consecutive Asian Championships team gold.
After the victory, XU who gave the Chinese team the initial lead in the final by beating YOSHIMURA 3-0 stated: “The Japanese are no strangers to us, so we came well prepared. I think it’s the mental strength that aided the victory, it’s important to put world rankings and past results aside and fight for every point!”
Reigning Olympics Champion ZHANG Jike, who dropped his match in the semifinals against Korea’s JANG Woojin, recovered tonight to beat OSHIMA 3-1 to claim China’s victory. After his match, the 27 year old shared: “I have not been in good shape lately. Even though I won the match against OSHIMA eventually, my overall performance is still not satisfactory (losing the second game 1-11).”
The Chinese team, led by singles World Champion and world number one DING Ning, played without world number two LIU Shiwen, who missed the entire teams event through illness. However the depth of the Chinese team is so strong that even without LIU, they fielded world number three ZHU Yuling and world number eight CHEN Meng who have both won World Tour titles in 2015.
The Chinese team proved too good for the young Japanese team of Ai FUKUHARA and the 14 year old duo of Mima ITO and Miu HIRANO, winning 3-0 to claim their fifth consecutive title.
DING Ning who was playing the past few days with the flu stated after receiving her gold medal: “We are very happy that our efforts paid off to win the gold medal against Japan despite the difficulties we faced along the way (meaning her and LIU Shiwen’s illness).”
“The Japanese lineup is also very young and strong. They are only going to get stronger and become great rivals for China.”
The 2015 ITTF-Asian Table Tennis Championships continues tomorrow, with there being still five titles (men’s & women’s singles, men’s & women’s doubles, and mixed doubles) up for grabs before the event finishes on 3 October 2015. —- ITTF
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