World no.1 Ma Long extended China’s utter domination of table tennis with his 4-0 (14-12, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4) gold medal win over fellow countryman Zhang Jike, the reigning London 2012 champion Riocentro Pavilion 3. The victory comes a day after China’s Ding Ning took gold and Li Xiaoxia took the silver in women’s singles.
This simply means Ma has completed the table tennis grand slam of world championship, World Cup and Olympic Games gold medals.
“I am very glad not only to complete the grand slam, but to become Olympic Champion alone makes me happy,” said Ma.
“I didn’t stress too much during the game. I did my best and played free. I’m extremely happy that I could win the gold medal, it’s a special moment in my career.”
Despite putting together erratic performances since London, Zhang is known for showing up for the big matches, but had no answer for Ma’s power show here.
Zhang was magnanimous in defeat: “It is a special memory for us athletes and the audience who watched, this match we played, he put on a good performance today, especially the first game,” he said.
“Ma Long won this title, so I give my sincere congratulations to him for winning the grand slam.”
China has won all but four gold medals since table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988, and all the golds at the past two games. If its men and women can take the team titles, as expected, they will have swept gold in Rio, too. Jun Mizutani of Japan beat Vladimir Samsonov, from Belarus, in the bronze medal match.