Rio de Janeiro: Li Xiaoxia, Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning combined to win the women’s team table tennis gold on Tuesday to keep China on target for their third consecutive Games cleansweep of titles.
The Chinese women swept aside Germany’s Han Ying, Shan Xiaona, and Petrisse Solja 3-0 to add another gold to the table tennis superpower’s wins last week in the men’s and women’s singles.
China’s men’s team will be strong favourites to topple Japan in the final medal match at Rio 2016 on Wednesday.
This was China’s 27th gold medal from the last 31 available since table tennis first appeared at an Olympics in Seoul in 1988.
For Ding Ning this was a second gold after her defeat of Li in the women’s singles final.
Li it was who sent China on their way with a 3-0 defeat of Han in the opening match.
Then Liu accounted for Solja 3-0. Ding and Liu united to see off Shan and Solja 3-1 to wrap up the best of five tie with room to spare.
“We are a team, so we do everything together, we trust each other so we can win all the games,” said Li.
“It’s our dream for our homeland to win an Olympic Games gold medal, our dream,” chipped in Liu.
Germany’s Shan commented: “Well, it was a big challenge to face the Chinese team in this final and we tried very hard.
“Of course, the goal was to play our best table tennis in this final. In the end, we only managed to win one game, but the Chinese team deserved to win this gold medal and we deserve to win the silver medal.”
Japan took the bronze medal, with one of their players, Mima Ito, at 15 years and 300 days, becoming the youngest ever Olympic table tennis medallist.
The Japanese teen takes over the honour from China’s Guo Yue who was 16 years, one month and three days old when she won doubles bronze at Athens in 2004.
Ito linked up with Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa to defeat Singapore 3-1 for third place.
After securing two of Japan’s two points Ito said: “I am just happy to win the medal.
“Fukuhara and Ishikawa played well. It was because all of us that we got this medal, not just my performance.
“I am looking forward to getting home and showing my medal to my family and supporters.”