China’s women’s table tennis clinches gold at World Team Championships
Published: Feb 25, 2024 10:12 PM

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

In a thrilling showdown at the 2024 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships, China's women's table tennis team secured their sixth consecutive title by defeating Japan with a 3-2 comeback victory on Saturday in Busan, South Korea.

This remarkable achievement also marked the 23rd time the Chinese team has lifted the prestigious Corbillon Cup. 

"We tried our best for the game, and we even moved ourselves," said world champion Sun Yingsha in an after-game interview.

The final match unfolded between China and Japan, a rivalry that has persisted since the 2014 Tokyo World Table Tennis Championships.  

In their previous four encounters, the score had been either 3-0 or 3-1, never reaching the full five games. However, this time, after nearly four hours of competition, the Chinese paddlers once again hoisted the Corbillon Cup, showcasing their unwavering spirit and formidable prowess in table tennis. 

Sun, the reigning singles world champion, played a pivotal role in this victory. She delivered a swift victory over Japan's Miwa Harimoto in the opening match, securing an 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 win. Despite Harimoto's resistance, Sun's strength prevailed, giving China an early 1-0 lead.

The drama continued in the second match, during which Olympic champion Chen Meng faced Japanese star Hina Hayata. Hayata, ranked two places below Chen, staged a remarkable comeback with 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 14-12. Her two-round victory leveled the scores between the two nations, setting the stage for an intense battle.

 "This might be the most unforgettable memory outside the Olympic experience," said the young Olympic champion Chen. "This was a final game where competitive sports showed their real charm, as everyone was doing the best they could for the team."  

With the tie hanging in the balance, Japan's Miu Hirano defeated world No.2 Wang Yidi in straight games, putting Japan ahead with two matches remaining before Sun faced Hayata once again. Sun's dominance left the match tied at 2-2, and the pressure fell on the young shoulders of Harimoto. 

Against all odds, Harimoto won the first game emphatically with an 11-3 score. However, Chen showcased her skills, mounting a comeback to win the last three games: 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7. China emerged victorious, clinching their sixth consecutive title and reinforcing their table tennis legacy. 

The related topic once rushed onto the top of the trending list of China's social media platform Sina Weibo, with over 220 million views in total. Fans were proud of the team members, with many saying in the comment section, "This is the best gift for China's Lantern Festival." 

China's coach Ma Lin summed up the thrilling contest in an after-game press conference, emphasizing the satisfaction of the result and the need for further analysis.  

He acknowledged the team's imperfections but expressed gratitude to the Chinese Table Tennis Association and Chairman Liu Guoliang for their timely motivation. As Ma aptly put it, "At such a special moment, this roller-coaster match will be etched in our memories for years to come."  

"This timely game gave us space to improve before the Olympic Games. I'm thankful for all the efforts made by the team," Ma said.