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European Olympic Singles Qualification - 23 Aug 2014

China partnership takes gold in Nanjing


Top seeds and favourites for gold, the Chinese partnership of FAN Zhendong and LIU Gaoyang won the Team event at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games .On the evening of Saturday 23rd August in the Wutaishan Gymasium, they beat the second seeded Japanese p

Top seeds and favourites for gold, the Chinese partnership of FAN Zhendong and LIU Gaoyang won the Team event at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games .On the evening of Saturday 23rd August in the Wutaishan Gymasium, they beat the second seeded Japanese pairing of Yuto MURAMATSU and Miyu KATO by two matches to nil.

Thus it was mission accomplished. FAN Zhendong and LIU Gaoyang added the Team title to the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles crowns donned three days earlier.

Furthermore, never at any stage did they lose a single match. At the final hurdle Liu GAOYANG bear Miyu KATO (11-3, 11-9, 11-9); FAN Zhendong overcame YUTO Muramatsu (10-12, 14-12, 11-5, 11-5).

“I’m pleased with my performance today; this morning I played positively from my backhand and I maintained that policy in the final”, said LIU Gaoyang. “I felt confident before the match, I wasn’t nervous and now I’m really happy, I’ve achieved my goals.” Success for Liu Gaoyang was followed with success for FAN Zhendong but it was hard fought success; the crowd willed their hero to victory.

Yuto MURAMATSU won the first game; then led 7-5 in the second. YAN Sen, the Chinese National Team coach sitting courtside called “Time Out” but at 10-7 FAN Zhendong faced three game points.

History shows that FAN Zhendong proceeded to save those two crucial points and then took control. It was a pressure situation; great credit must go to FAN Zhendong for the way he controlled his emotions; there was no hint of panic.

Two silver medals for Yuto MURAMATSU; for Miyu KATO it was a happy ending to the tournament. Three days previously she had left the arena distraught, on the concluding day she left full of smiles; she owned a precious gold medal.

However, nothing could detract from the superb performance afforded by FAN Zhendong and LIU Gaoyang; they were a class apart.

Ian MARSHALL, courtesy ITTF

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