China won the men’s team title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and thus brought 14 days of action in the Metropolitan Gymnasium to a conclusion.
The top seeds, at the final hurdle they recorded a 3-0 win against Germany, the no.2 seeds; the success coming after Japan, the no.3 seeds, had secured a 3-1 success in opposition to Korea Republic, the no.4 seeds.
Ma Long and Xu Xin gave China the ideal start by overcoming Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska (11-7, 11-3, 11-9).
Fan Zhendong doubled the advantage but not without moments of anguish; he was required to recover from a two games to one deficit to beat Dimitrij Ovtcharov (3-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3).
Gold ever nearer, Ma Long accounted for Timo Boll (11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7) to end matters.
Success for China, earlier it had been the same for Japan, the doubles setting the standard.
Somewhat unexpectedly, Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa, two left handers, with no great previous record of success, accounted for Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu (11-9, 8-11, 15-13, 11-5), winners of six ITTF World Tour men’s doubles titles.
Immediately following, Tomokazu Harimoto beat Jang Woojin (11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7), before Jeoung Youngsik reduced the overall deficit by overcoming Koki Niwa (11-3, 11-8, 11-7).
A possible recovery, such a concept was extinguished. Jun Mizutani overcame Jang Woojin (14-12, 11-9, 11-9) to seal bronze.
Thus, since the team events were introduced in Beijing in 2008, China has always reserved the top step of the podium, for Germany they maintained their record of always winning a medal, silver had been the colour in Beijing, bronze on both London and Rio de Janeiro.
Korea Republic again proved a prominent force; fourth place as in Rio de Janeiro, having in Beijing won bronze and London, silver. Meanwhile for Japan, it was one step lower than in Rio de Janeiro, but another medal to add to the collection.
Notably, it was the first time in a men’s team event that every fixture was won by the higher seeded outfit; not surprises but the action was enthralling.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: ITTF