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.
“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.”
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.
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.