Japan came up against a familiar foe in the final of the women’s team table tennis event at the Tokyo Olympics and settled for a silver medal.
China displayed its dominance of the sport, beating Japan 3-0 on Thursday, August 5, to claim its third gold medal in table tennis competition.
But it was all China after that with world No. 1 Chen and No. 4 Wang taking control and winning the next three matches 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.
“Tonight was our last match,” Ito said. “We enjoyed it here but this was a difficult result to end it on.”
“We felt the power of China,” Japan captain Ishikawa said. “But I’m proud of the way this team came together from the first day of training camp and I’m grateful for their support.”
It was the third straight Olympic medal for Japan’s women’s team following the silver in London in 2012 and the bronze in Rio de Janeiro four years later.
Japan's Miu Hirano in action against China's Manyu Wang. (AP/Darron Cummings)
China has won all four editions of both the men's and women's team event since it was introduced at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Hong Kong defeated Germany 3-1 earlier to claim the bronze medal.
China will have another shot at a gold medal when it faces Germany in the men’s team final on Friday, August 6. Japan will take on South Korea in the bronze-medal match earlier in the day.
Japan came into the table tennis event at the Tokyo Games looking to put a dent in China’s dominance of the sport. The host nation did manage to claim their first table tennis gold earlier when Jun Mizutani and Ito defeated the Chinese pair of Xin Xu and Shiwen Liu in the mixed doubles.
Author: Jim Armstrong
The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for more than 25 years. You can find his articles here, on JAPAN Forward.