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Flawless day for China in table tennis

By OIS
Team China had a perfect day in the Tokyo 2020 table tennis contests at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium this Thursday, 2 September. The Chinese players won gold in all five medal team events, including a thrilling 3-2 over Germany in the men’s class 3.

Zhai Xiang clinched the gold after a comeback victory from a two games to zero deficit to beat Thomas Schmidberger (7-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4). The Germans took the lead in the pairs match, with Schmidberger and Thomas Bruchle winning by a narrow margin (11-8, 15-13, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9). In singles, Feng Panfeng defeated Bruchle (11-13, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9) and left the contest to be decided in the third and last rubber.

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“We prepared for a difficult match but they were even better. They are so steady. No matter what the ball kept coming back. After the doubles, my confidence was shattered. I tend to take some time to warm up. In singles I was 2-0 down again. I managed to calm down from the third game and not have too many thoughts,” said Zhai to the Olympic Information Services (OIS).

This was a third consecutive gold for China and silver for Germany in this event:

“We’ve played them in 2012, in 2016 and now again. Our friendship runs deep. In London it also went to a decider. We wanted to retain our gold so we felt huge pressure.”

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In the men’s team class 8, Peng Weinan and Zhao Shuai defeated 2-0 Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh and Maksym Nikolenko, gold medallists in Rio de Janeiro.

Peng Weinan and Zhao Shuai secured the doubles (11-7, 11-8, 11-8) and Zhao won the only singles rubber disputed (11-13, 14-12, 11-5, 11-11-5), repeating the outcome of the men’s singles class 8 final.

“We prepared very well for the doubles. I cried when we won. It is my first time participating after all, so I got a bit emotional. Zhao really held the fort in his singles match. It’s not for the faint-hearted. I’ve learnt a lot from my first Paralympics, especially on the importance of being adaptable and being as determined as Zhao when competing, fighting hard for every point,” said Peng.

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In the men’s team class 4-5, Cao Ningning and Guo Xingyuan defeated Koreans Kim Young-Gun and Kim Jung-Gil 2-0, with victories on doubles and Cao beating Kim Jung-Gil 3-2 in the only singles contested.

Three-time Paralympian Mao Jingdian helped teammate Huang Wenjuan win her first Paralympic gold, in the women’s team classes 6-8, with a 2-0 win over Dutch Frederique Van Hoof and Kelly Van Zon. China completed the swept by claiming the women’s team class 1-3, with Xue Juan and Li Qian beating 2-0 Yoon Jiyu and Lee Mi Gyu, from Korea.

Tomorrow, five more team events will close the table tennis schedule for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games: women’s classes 9-10 and 4-5, and men’s 6-7, 1-2 and 9-10. All matches will happen at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

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