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Table Tennis: Fan Zhendong completes part one of Olympic quest

Yuto Muramatsu of Japan, senior World No. 3 Fan Zhendong of China and Hugo Calderano of Brazil with their silver, gold and bronze medals respectively at the Youth Olympic Games. Photos: ITTF.

Yuto Muramatsu of Japan, senior World No. 3 Fan Zhendong of China and Hugo Calderano of Brazil with their silver, gold and bronze medals respectively at the Youth Olympic Games. Photos: ITTF.

August 20, 2014: World No. 3 Fan Zhendong is halfway to achieving his goal of winning consecutive Youth Olympic and Olympic titles after winning the boys’ gold medal in Nanjing, China.

 

The teenage prodigy overcame a brilliant fightback by Yuto Muramatsu of Japan before winning 4-2 (11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4) to clinch the boys’ singles title at the second Youth Olympic Games.

 

“This was an amazing victory for me. I am extremely proud. The Youth Olympic Games have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have really enjoyed it. I am very lucky to be here,” said Fan, who is already an ITTF World Team Championship winner.

 

“I now need to work very hard to achieve my goal of Rio 2016 gold. This would be a dream come true to be the first-ever player to have both Youth Olympic and Olympic gold medals and I think I can do it.”

 

It was double gold for China as Liu Gaoyang clinched the girls’ title by defeating Hong Kong’s top-seed Doo Hoi-kem 4-1 (11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 11-1, 11-3) in front of a 4,000-strong crowd.

 

Doo Hoi-kem of Hong Kong, girls’ champion Liu Gaoyang of China and Lily Zhang of the USA with their medals in Nanjing.

Doo Hoi-kem of Hong Kong, girls’ champion Liu Gaoyang of China and Lily Zhang of the USA with their medals in Nanjing.

“I’ve been under a lot of pressure here in Nanjing and winning today is more a sense of relief than anything else,” said Liu, who won silver at last year’s ITTF World Junior Championship. “I was very proud standing up on the podium singing the Chinese national anthem. It is a real boost to my career.”

 

Latin America and North America won their first-ever table tennis Olympic medals in the bronze-medal playoffs. Brazil’s Hugo Calderano defeated Yang Heng-wei of Chinese Taipei 4-2 (11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10) to win the boys’ bronze.

 

“I am so happy,” Calderano said. “It was a very hard match. I can’t explain how emotional and proud I am to win the first ever table tennis Olympic medal for Latin America. I hope my success can help push table tennis in the continent even further.”

 

American Lily Zhang was also excited about her 4-2 (10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8) victory over Japan’s Kato Miyu.

 

“I wanted this medal so much, not just for me, but for my country,” Zhang said. “I had to keep myself calm before the match and try not to think about it too much. I was even more determined to win the medal, as my roommate came home last night with a silver. I feel like I am floating, I am that ecstatic.”

 

The next table tennis event is the mixed teams – including the gold-medal pairing of Fan and Liu – which will conclude on Sunday.

 

Source: ITTF (www.ittf.com); Editing by SportAsia

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