China in Command, Asian Championships Men Team Crown Retained
Crowned Men’s Team champions in the Indian city of Lucknow in November 2009, China retained the precious title at the Asian Championships in Macau on the evening of Sunday 25th February 2012.
Furthermore, the won in a most impressive manner against Japan; they recorded a three matches to nil victory.
It was a victory as status predicted with the Chinese stars winning the vital points; when crisis loomed they rose the challenge.
Zhang Jike faced Koki Niwa in the opening contest.
The reigning World champion is gaining a reputation for being a slow starter; most notably in the final of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in France last November, he lost the first two games against compatriot, Wang Hao, before winning four in a row to secure the title.
Never in Straight Games
In Macau, at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Team event when China faced Korea, he lost the first game against Kim Song Nam before reeling off the next three.
Ma Lin's quick response to the ball-->
Ma Lin's quick response to the ball-->
Almost similarly, in opposition to Huang Sheng-Sheng in the semi-finals he lost the second game but progressed to win three-one.
It’s as though he needs to create a situation to which he can respond, as though if he can pick an argument with somebody he becomes motivated!
Lost First Game
Against Koki Niwa, he lost the first game; then won the next two and in the third game established an 8-5 lead.
Yoshohito Miyazaki, the Japanese National Team Men’s Coach called “Time Out”.
The break bore fruit; Koki Niwa reduced the deficit to one point at 9-8.
Liu Guoliang the head coach of the Chinese Men’s Team followed the example of Yoshohito Miyazaki; he called “Time Out”. Likewise, his decision bore fruit. Zhang Jike won the next two points, China had the early advantage.
Next into the arena came Ma Lin to face Jun Mizutani.
Ma Lin made the better start and established an early lead; at 10-6 he held four games points. Jun Mizutani saved three but could not save a fourth; Ma Lin saluted the crowd more in relief than in triumph.
However, in the second game it was to some extent the reverse scenario.
Jun Mizutani led throughout; at 10-9 he held game point; a situation he was to hold twice more before Ma Lin won three points in a row to secure the game.
Firing on All Cylinders
Jun's swerve ball serve Stung by the fact he had missed three opportunities, Jun Mizutani came out all guns blazing in the third game. He won the first six points before Ma Lin responded to reduce the arrears to one point at 8-7 in favour of Jun Mizutani.
Yoshohito Miyazaki called “Time Out”; the players returned. The next two points went to Ma Lin; Jun Mizutani levelled before, after a stupendous rally he held game point at 10-9.
Again, as in the previous game Ma Lin saved the game point; it was the last opportunity Jun Mizutani would realise. Ma Lin won the next two points.
China was in command.
Close First Game
The pressure valve somewhat released, Ma Long made the better start in the first game against Kenta Matsudaira but the 20 year old Japanese star responded.
He both held game points and saved game points before Mas Long emerged successful.
Win a close game and confidence blossoms; it is a well-worn adage; in the case of Ma Long it was verified. He dominated the second game. Kenta played against World Top Star without fear
Kenta Matsudaira responded in the third game; in the early stages he matched Ma Long point for point but devastating in the art of service and first attack, Ma Long asserted his authority. He created a lead and had victory in his eyes.
Written in Bold Letters
The writing was on the wall and there was just one message inscribed and inscribed for all to see.
In bold it read: China, the 2012 Asian Games Men’s Team Champions
Defeat for Japan but they have time on their side; the total age of the team is less than the accepted retirement age.
Ma long showed the world top-notch skill
Jun Mizutani is the senior citizen at 22 years of age, Kenta Matsudaira is 20 years old; whilst Koki Niwa ia only 17 years old.
Future battles which see China face Japan could well be closer affairs than the contest witnessed in the East Asia Games Dome.
The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 or eight years hence in wherever it might be in 2020; China versus Japan in the Men’s Team event, it could be very interesting, very interesting indeed!
Team China was awarded Men's Team Champion of 20th ATTC --->
Article by Ian Marshal
Photos by Gai Ding (ATTU Secretariat)