Table Tennis: Ma Long jumps for joy in Suzhou after first Worlds win
- Updated: May 4, 2015
May 4, 2015: World No. 1 Ma Long jumped on the table in front of the capacity crowd at the Suzhou International Expo Centre in China after winning the men’s singles at the World Championships for the first time.
Competing in the biennial World Championships for the fourth time, the 26-year-old Chinese star beat compatriot Fang Bo 4-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4), ending the run of the 23-year-old who shocked World No. 2 Xu Xin and two-time defending champion Zhang Jike en route to the final.
Lifting the St. Bride Vase was a huge relief for Ma, who was knocked out in the semi-finals in his previous three appearances, losing to the now-retired Wang Hao each time.
“It is like a dream come true,” Ma said. “Having lost in the semi-finals at the three previous World Championships, honestly, I felt a lot of pressure to earn this title. At the end of the day I think it was worth it.”
Liu Shiwen earned some measure of revenge for her loss in Saturday’s women’s singles final when the World No. 2 and Zhu Yuling won the doubles on Sunday.
Liu and Zhu beat World No. 1 Ding Ning and Olympic singles champion Li Xiaoxia 4-3 (8-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8) to consign Ding to her fourth straight loss in the doubles final.
On Saturday, Ding won the singles by beating Liu 11-8 in the seventh game despite suffering an ankle injury early in the final game, but this time it was Liu, the former World No. 1, who emerged victorious after her team prevailed 11-8 in the decider.
“I was very upset after the loss last night, although I know I have to accept it. I’d like to thank my coach, teammates and friends for their support,” Liu, 24, said.
“Since I had doubles to play today, I knew I had to be mentally tough. I cherish this match because I’ve never won the championship in singles before and I knew I had to give it my best effort tonight.”
Japanese sensation Mima Ito, 14, won the Qoros Newcomer award for her outstanding performance, reaching the quarter-finals of the singles in her World Championships debut.
China won four of the five trophies in Suzhou, while the fifth was shared between Xu and his Korean teammate Yang Ha-eun in the mixed doubles.
The 54th edition of the World Championships will be staged in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur in February 2016.
Gold Medallists at the Qoros 2015 World Championships, Suzhou, China
- Men’s Singles: Ma Long (CHN)
- Women’s Singles: Ding Ning (CHN)
- Men’s Doubles: Zhang Jike / Xu Xin (CHN)
- Women’s Doubles: Liu Shiwen / Zhu Yuling (CHN)
- Mixed Doubles: Xu Xin (CHN) / Yang Ha-eun (KOR)
- Total unique viewership on CCTV yesterday (2 May 2015): 99,027,000 which is the 6th highest rating sports show on CCTV in 2015
- Total viewership between 27 April – 2 May: 223,332,000
- Total unique people who have seen content on ITTF’s facebook page between 26 April – 2 May: 2,373,752
- Total unique people who have visited ITTF’s website between 26 April – 2 May: 8,560,318
Source: ITTF (www.ittf.com); Editing by SportAsia