China has capped off a dream Youth Olympic Games by claiming gold in the Mixed Teams event to add to their Men's and Women's singles crown they won earlier in the week.
The Chinese team, made up of Men's and Women's singles champion FAN Zhendong and LIU Gaoyang, were too strong for their Japanese rivals KATO Miyu and MURAMATSU Yuto in the gold medal match in front of a crowd in excess of 4,000.
Both FAN Zhendong and LIU Gaoyang won their singles matches to take an unassailable 2-0 lead, which meant the third and deciding mixed doubles match was not needed.
An ecstatic FAN Zhendong, who is currently the senior world number three, and read the athletes oath at the Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony stated:
"I was happy with the way I played, I was happy with my level of play. MURAMATSU played very well, and the match was close which made me nervous. It is a dream come true to win two gold medals at such an important event in my home country. Bring on Rio!
International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, was that impressed when meeting the teenage prodigy whilst watching the Table Tennis yesterday that he promised FAN Zhendong that if he wins gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he will personally present the gold medal to him.
Before the event begun, FAN boldly stated that he plans to be the first ever Youth Olympic Champion to also win Olympic gold, so who would bet against him doing the double in Rio!
LIU Gaoyang, who secured her second gold medal, added: "Two gold medals was my goal here. I was scared the whole event that I would not achieve my goal, so I am so, so happy that I am standing here with my goal fulfilled."
The Hong Kong team represented by HUNG Ka Tak and singles silver medalist DOO Hoi Kem defeated the surprise semifinalists of the event from Thailand, Padasak TANVIRIYAVECHAKUL and Tamolwan KHETKHUAN, to secure the bronze medal 2-0.
The Mixed Teams event brings to a close a very successful and historic Table Tennis event at the Youth Olympic Games. The 2nd Youth Olympic Games saw Latin and North America win their first table tennis (Youth) Olympic medals, with Hugo CALDERANO (BRA) and Lily ZHANG both winning bronze medals in the singles events. Reflecting on the event, ITTF CEO Judit FARAGO stated:
"We are very happy with how the Table Tennis event went here in Nanjing. We had very large and vocal crowds for all the days, excellent sport presentation, live TV coverage all days as well as receiving the most views of any sport on the IOC YouTube channel. We are all thrilled to see the emergence of Latin America and North America here at the YOG and we look forward to these countries winning medals at the Olympic Games soon! FAN Zhendong from China is a real contender to be even Olympic champion in Rio"
The next big challenge for the world's best under-18 table tennis players is the Wisdom 2014 ITTF World Junior Championships to be held in Shanghai, China from 30 November to 7 December 2014.
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
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