China sweeps table tennis gold for 3rd straight Olympics
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 18, 2016 10:44 AM
China's Xu Xin returns a shot to Japan's Jun Mizutani during the men's team table tennis gold medal competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — For the third straight Olympics, China will take home every gold medal in table tennis.
The Chinese men's team beat Japan 3-1 on Wednesday, cementing the nation's status as the world leader in the sport.
Chinese women have won every singles gold medal since the sport entered the Olympics in 1988. China has won the last eight men's world team championships. There have only been team competitions at the last three Olympics, but China's men and women have won all of those.
China's men's team consisted of the gold and silver medalists in Rio de Janeiro — Ma Long and Zhang Jike — and third-ranked Xu Xin.
Ma didn't drop a game in the first set against Koki Niwa of Japan, ranked 22nd in the world.
Xu lost two straight games in his set against bronze medalist Jun Mizutani of Japan before taking the next two; Xu then dropped the deciding fifth game to Mizutani, leaving the match tied at 1-1.
When Japan jumped out with a quick lead in the doubles portion of the match, winning the first game, China suddenly seemed a bit shaky.
But Zhang and Xu calmly took the next three doubles games to beat Maharu Yoshimura, ranked No. 21, and Niwa to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The next set saw Ma rout Yoshimura to secure China the gold.
Germany earlier beat South Korea for bronze.
On Tuesday, the Chinese women's team defeated Germany 3-0 for gold.
The Chinese women lost only a single game in the match. On the team were the gold and silver medalists from Rio — Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia — and the No. 1 player in the world, Liu Shiwen.
The Japanese women took team bronze over Singapore.