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Ma Long – Photo By: Rémy Gro

Imperious, Impressive, Imposing, China Retains Men’s Team Title

Imperious, Impressive, Imposing, China Retains Men’s Team Title
2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships
Courtesy of ITTF

Amidst a cacophony of support from the five thousand plus contingent of supporters, who had travelled from China to support their idols; on the evening of Sunday March 6th, China retained their Men’s Championship Division title at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

Thoroughly professional; a three matches to nil score-line was the end result. The trio comprising Xu Xin, Ma Long and Zhang Jike were men with a mission under the guidance of commander-in-chief, Liu Guoliang.

Daunting Task 
Furthermore, whatever the order, no member of the illustrious trio had ever lost to any player in the Japanese line-up of Jun Mizutani, Maharu Yoshimura and Yuya Oshima in a world ranking event.

Japan faced quite incredible odds.

Ideal Start 
Xu Xin to chant of “Jia You” from the crowd, in order to encourage him to greater heights, gave China the perfect start by beating Jun Mizutani (11-6, 11-8, 11-8).

Ma Long followed; he overcame Maharu Yoshimura (11-3, 11-6, 11-8) before Zhang Jike ended matters by defeating Yuya Oshima (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7).

Great Team 
“We have a great team, so I did not feel under any great pressure having to play first”, said Xu Xin after beating Jun Mizutani for the tenth time on the international scene; the manner of the success much different to their encounter in Indian city of Lucknow on Thursday November 19,  2009 at the Asian Championships.

The Great Escape 
On that occasion Japan led by two matches to one. In the third engagement, Jun Mizutani led 10-7 in the deciding fifth game against Xu Xin; overall he had four match points before losing 15-13.

He needed to convert just one and Japan would have been Asian champions; it was not to be; in the next contest, Zhang Jike beat Kenta Matsudaira and the chance had gone.

There was to be no such drama in Kuala Lumpur.

Similar Response 
No member of the Chinese outfit was in serious danger; the team ethic was very much the fore. Similar to Xu Xin; Ma Long praised the group ethic.

“We have a strong team; I do not feel under any great pressure because I know I have such great support”, explained Ma Long. “I have total trust in my team mates.”

first appearance for Japan in the final of the Men’s Team event was in 1954

first appearance for Japan in the final of the Men’s Team event was in 1954

Incredible Record 
The top seeds, the defending champions completed the whole tournament without a single individual match being surrendered.

In fact Ma Long went through the whole of proceedings without the loss of a single individual game, just as he had done in Tokyo in 2014 and Dortmund in 2012; the last time he surrendered a game at a World Team Championships was in Moscow in 2010 when he lost to Timo Boll in the final against Germany.

Only Loss 
Remarkably that is his only loss in a World Team Championships since making his debut in Guangzhou in 2008.

The overall record now reads 30 matches played, 29 won; since his defeat in Moscow it is an unblemished run of 21 matches without surrendering a single game, a total of 63 games without a hiccup.

Meanwhile, Xu Xin retained his record of never having lost a match at a World Team Championships; while a team, China repeated the feat of Dortmund in 2012 when they never lost an individual match.

Once again in Olympic year, from China, it is simply awesome.

It was the 13th time that Japan had appeared in the final of the Men’s Team event at a World Championships, the fifth time they had finished in runners up spot; for China it was their 20th win in 25 final appearances.

Click here to view results, photos, videos and more from the World Team Table Tennis Championships.

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