Zhang Jike completes Chinese dominance
Beijing 2008; both the men’s and women’s table-tennis finals have an all Chinese line up.
Four years on at London 2012 and nothing has changed.
The undoubted Chinese’s dominance in table-tennis must leave competitors from other nations wondering if there is any point in turning up to these events as the Chinese look unbeatable.
Zhang Jike yesterday completed the grand slam as he won the men’s singles final yesterday against Wang Hao.
In doing so, he became the fourth table-tennis player to win the grand slam, which includes the World Cup, World Championships and a gold medal at the Olympics.
It is a truly outstanding feat for a young man who, at the age of just 22, has plenty of years left in him to achieve more in the sport. He will surely be back to defend his crown at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Zhang was brilliant in a hugely competitive final against Wang. Zhang was made to work hard for the win as the first set went to a tie break which Zhang eventually won 18-16.
The second and third sets saw Zhang step it up a gear as he began manipulating the ball majestically winning 11-5 in both sets.
Then came the fight back from Wang as he won the fourth set on another tie-break, 12-10.
Zhang was looking like a man under pressure and you would have been forgiven for thinking an unlikely comeback from Wang was possible, but Zhang showed the mental strength you need to be a great champion winning the fifth in yet another tie break, 13-11.
It was yet more heartbreak for 28-year-old Wang. He has now lost in the last three Olympic Singles Finals going back to the games in Athens in 2004.
Like Zhang, Wang also headed into the final looking to be the fourth man to complete a grand slam, but it now looks like that dream has ended for the silver medalist.
China are now in possession of 22 out of the 26 available gold medals in table-tennis at the 2012 Games.
Paul Jones, olympics correspondent