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Gold for Chen Meng (Photo: ITTF)

The complete player, Chen Meng won the women’s singles title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on the evening of Thursday 29th July. Thus she added her name to the illustrious list of compatriots who have previously struck gold at the most prestigious of all multi-sport gatherings.

After recording a semi-final win against Singapore’s Yu Mengyu, the no.26 seed, (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6), Chen Meng, justified her top seeds position; she accounted for colleague Sun Yingsha, the no.2 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9) to claim gold.

Success for Chen Meng, followed success for Japan’s Mima Ito, beaten by Sun Yingsha in the penultimate round (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), she accounted for Yu Mengyu (6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6) to reserve the third step of the podium.

Bronze for Mima Ito but more significantly, a first ever Olympic Games women’s singles medal for Japan in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games.

The women’s singles podium: Sun Yingsha (silver), Chen Meng (gold), Mima Ito (silver) (Photo: ITTF)

An exhilarating final but nothing matched the contests of earlier in the day when China’s Fan Zhendong and Ma Long, the respective top two seeds, prevailed but were stretched to the very limit of endurance.

Fan Zhendong beat Lin Yun-Ju, the no.5 seed (6-11, 11-9, 14-12, 13-15, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8), Ma Long (CHN), no.2 seed, eventually overcame Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, no.7 seed (13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9).

The men’s singles bronze medal match is scheduled for 8.00 pm (local time) on Friday 30th July, the gold medal contest one hour later.