China harvests Olympic gold, silver in table tennis women's singles
Chen Meng, left, and Sun Yingsha of China pose with the national flag after Chen won the women's table tennis singles at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan on July 29,2021. [Photo/IC]
TOKYO - China's Chen Meng lived up to her status as the world No 1 by overcoming compatriot Sun Yingsha 4-2 to claim the Olympic gold medal in table tennis women's singles competition here on on July 29.
Chen came out the winner in the all-Chinese final, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 5-11, 11-4 and 11-9.
It's another major title for top-ranked Chen, following her success at the ITTF World Cup in November last year.
Chen and Sun have secured a 1-2 finish for China, a traditional powerhouse in the sport, after eliminating Yu Mengyu from Singapore and local favorite Mima Ito respectively in the semifinals earlier on Thursday.
"Our efforts over the past several years have paid off, and the gold and silver medals have reflected the overall strength of our Chinese team," 27-year-old Chen told a press conference after the gold medal match.
"I experienced a lot in these past years. From losing games and facing doubts to winning gold medal today, only I am aware of the difficulty that I had down the stretch. I just want to say to myself, 'you did it'," she added.
Familiar with each other's style of play in training and head-to-head in national or international competitions, the Chinese duo showcased their quality attack in the final in their Olympic maiden appearance.
Youngster Sun gained an upper hand from the outset to take the opener. But Chen took the game under control in the second set.
Although Sun managed to level the game at 2-2, Chen approached toward her first Olympic title with precise and high-caliber hits, letting out a roar every time when she scored a point en route to the win.
After securing her gold medal, Chen ran towards the tribune to give a big hug to her coach and former Olympic champion Ma Lin.
"I had no idea of what to say at this moment," Chen said. "This gold medal is the best reward for both of us."
"Playing the Olympic Games has been my dream over these years. I hope from now on, the era of Chen Meng has arrived for real," she added.
Despite her defeat in striving for gold, 20-year-old Sun has confidence in her future.
"After my Olympic preparation, I displayed my level and did my best today," she said. "It's a long way to go. Hopefully I can go forward step by step."
Chen and Sun will next turn their attention to the team event and lead team China in quest for the fourth consecutive title since 2008.
"That (team gold medal) is my next goal," commented Chen.
In the earlier bronze medal match, Ito beat Yu 4-1.