China confirm table tennis dominance
For the second successive Olympic Games, China won every gold medal available in the table tennis to secure their place in Olympic history.
The men comfortably followed the women’s success the day before with a straight sets 3-0 win over South Korea.
The Chinese women beat their Japanese opponents on Tuesday to secure China’s third gold medal, which left it to their male counterparts to complete their undoubted dominance of the sport.
The men did not disappoint and never looked in trouble as they defeated Korea without so much as breaking a sweat. They outplayed and outmanoeuvred the opposition with incredible skill and finesse.
China are the Spain of the table tennis arena. Individually and as a team they are superstars. They make every shot look easy. They fall behind, they don’t panic. They are competent professionals of their sport.
They not only won all the gold medals, but also took the maximum amount of medals as they also won two silver medals in the singles events.
From a British point of view, we had some excitement in the early round of the men’s single event as British number one, Paul Drinkhall, reached the third round, which was an outstanding achievement, but puts into perspective how far behind we are.
Table tennis is not our national sport. It doesn’t even come close. Table tennis is played in youth clubs and gyms primarily. It is viewed more as a hobby than a sport in the UK, and until that changes we will continue to go out of the early rounds of major international tournaments.
As the rest of the world searches for ways to bring an end to the Chinese reign of the sport, the Chinese continue to grow stronger and adapt their styles to keep themselves one step ahead of the rest of the field.
One thing is for sure. It has been a real pleasure to watch a sport played brilliantly by the best team. Well played China!
Paul Jones, Olympics correspondent