Gold for MA Long at the Rio 2016 Olympic GamesPhoto: ITTF
MIZUTANI beat SAMSONOV to win the first bronze for Japan
The new Olympic champion is MA Long. World's no 1 beat London's Olympic champion ZHANG Jike in straight games (14-12, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4) in the final encounter in the Men's Singles Event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Jun MIZUTANI become the first ever male player from Japan to win a medal in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games. On his historic path MIZUTANI halted the progress of Belarus Vladimir SAMSONOV in the battle for the third step at the medal rostrum. Occupying the no.4 seed position in the competition he overcame Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus, the no.7 seed in five games (11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 14-12, 11-8).
For SAMSONOV, fourth place, is his best ever finish in an Olympic Games; his previous most successful conclusion being a quarter-final place in 1996 in Atlanta and four years later in Sydney. Vladimir SAMSONOV:
“It is definitely not a very good feeling to lose the bronze medal match. This is probably my last chance to get an Olympic medal, as I don't know if I will be at Tokyo,” stated SAMSONOV. “After my match with Dimitrij OVTCHAROV in the quarterfinals I was injured and probably did not really get into the game in this match. I also didn't want to push my injury too hard. Although I missed the chance to win the 4th game, the adrenaline made me just move on and forget.”
MIZUTANI was delighted .
“I feel very happy! This is the best feeling ever! SAMSONOV was not an easy opponent to play as we know each other very well. Although he came back and won a game, and was close to winning the 4th, I did not give up until the end.”
World champion MA Long, beat Olympic champion ZHANG Jike to secure the 12th victory from 17 matches on their head-to-head record on the Table Tennis world circuit. Victory it was success for the fifth time for China for the fifth player; no player has ever won the title more than one.
LIU Guoliang was the first to secure gold when he won in Atlanta 20 years ago in 1996, he was followed in 2000 in Sydney by KONG Linghui; before more recently Ma Lin succeeded in Beijing in 2008 and four years ago ZHANG Jike was anointed in London.