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Table Tennis Star Kasumi Ishikawa, a Three-Time Olympic Medalist, Retires

In major international events, Kasumi Ishikawa showcased her talent, determination and ability to perform under pressure on the world stage.

Kasumi Ishikawa, one of the most successful table tennis players in Japanese history, announced her retirement from the sport on Monday, May 1, on Instagram. 

"I have decided to retire from playing after the WTT Champions Macao tournament in April," Ishikawa explained in her announcement.

"Since the beginning of this year, I have approached each tournament with the thought, 'This may be my last match,' now, I have a strong feeling that I have done all I could, and I have decided to retire."

Ishikawa, who began playing table tennis at age 7, retired after a 23-year career in the sport. 

Over the course of her illustrious career, Ishikawa, 30, achieved numerous accomplishments and cemented her status as one of the top players in the world.

Affectionately known to Japanese fans as "Kasumin," the Yamaguchi Prefecture native first burst onto the scene in the late 2000s, quickly establishing herself as a dominant force in table tennis. She won her first singles title on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour in Morocco in 2010.

Kasumi Ishikawa
Kasumi Ishikawa made her Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games. (ⒸSANKEI)

Success on the Global Stage

Ishikawa was an eight-time ITTF World Tour singles champion, collecting victories at various tournaments between 2010 and 2018, and a ITTF World Tour Grand Finals singles champion in 2014. She was also a six-time ITTF World Tour doubles winner, including a trio of tourney titles in Europe in 2010). 

Ishikawa reached a career-high world ranking of third in singles in 2017.

In addition to her success on the World Tour, Ishikawa also won numerous national and international championships. She was a five-time singles national champion, and a two-time World Table Tennis Championships mixed doubles champion (2017, 2019). 

Ishikawa's performances at major international events showcased her talent, determination and ability to perform under pressure on the world stage.

Kasumi Ishikawa
Kasumi Ishikawa (left), Ai Fukuhara (center) and Sayaka Hirano earned silver medals in the women's team competition at the 2012 London Games. (ⒸSANKEI)

From left, Miu Hirano, Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito display their silver medals from the women's team event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on August 5, 2021. (ⒸSANKEI)

Ishikawa Helped Spark a Surge in Sport’s Popularity

One of Ishikawa's most notable achievements came in 2012, when she captured a silver medal (along with Ai Fukuhara and Sayaka Hirano) in the women’s team event at the London Olympics, leading Japan to its first-ever Olympic table tennis medal. She was still a teenager at the time, and her accomplishment inspired a surge in popularity for table tennis in Japan. 

Ishikawa followed up her success in London with a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 in front of her home country, cementing her status as one of Japan's greatest table tennis players.

Kasumi Ishikawa (KYODO)

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A Popular Player and a Respected Role Model

Throughout her career, Ishikawa was admired by fans and fellow players alike for her skill and sportsmanship, and was widely regarded as a role model for young players in Japan and around the world. She was featured in a YouTube Music advertisement to launch the service in Japan in 2019.

Now, just days after announcing her retirement, Ishikawa can reflect on a career filled with incredible achievements and moments of triumph. She leaves a legacy that will inspire future generations of table tennis players and a lasting impact on the sport that she helped to elevate to new heights.

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Author: Galileo Ferrari

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