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Japan Stuns China after Winning Historic Olympic Table Tennis Gold
Jun Mizutani – Photo Credit: Flickr
Japanese mixed doubles pair Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito won their country’s first ever Olympic table tennis gold medal thus ending years of Chinese dominance with a comeback victory on home soil.
China had won every Olympic title in the sport since a men’s singles triumph for South Korean Ryu Seung-min in the 2004 Athens Games. However, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen blew a two-game lead in a thrilling final in Tokyo.
Mizutani and Ito raced into an 8-0 advantage in the deciding game and closed it out when Xu hit a return into the net, with the Japanese pair winning 5-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6.
The victory also sent Japan to the top of the overall Olympics medals table at the end of the day’s action with eight golds, one extra compared to the United States.
Before this, China had won a remarkable 28 of 32 golds in Olympic table tennis history and were heavily tipped for another clean sweep in the Japanese capital.
Second seeds Mizutani and Ito had been on the brink of a quarter-final exit yesterday against German duo Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja but saved seven match points to win 16-14 in a seventh game.
This was the first time that the mixed doubles event had been played at the Olympics.