SHAH ALAM, March 6 — China retained the Championship Division women’s title after thrashing Japan 3-0 in the final of the 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championship (WTTC) at the Malawati Stadium here today.
China claimed a record 20th World Championship title after featuring in the finals for the 25th time to maintain an undefeated record against Japan since the 1971 Nagoya edition, where Japan defeated China in the final to emerge champions.
Ever since, China have never lost to Japan in the final, including at the 1983 and 2014 Tokyo world championships, where China outclassed Japan for the gold medal in their homeland.
World number one Liu Shiwen easily overcame world number four Ai Fukuhara 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in the first game, but 2012 Olympics gold medallist Li Xiaoxia faced a stiff challenge before coming from behind to win 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-5 against Kasumi Ishikawa.
In the third match, world number two Ding Ning also came from behind to defeat 15-year-old Mima Ito 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 , 11-1 to bring back the Marcel Corbillon Cup.
The Most Valuable Player Trophy for the women went to Xiaoxia, who was the backbone of the Chinese team, who achieved six 3-0 wins in seven ties in their campaign to defend the title.
“I have great support from my team but the main factor for me was taking time out when I was losing to regain belief in myself. I had some pressure but I am glad to win even though my performance was not at the peak,” Xiaoxia said after the match.
Eight times champion Japan promised to bounce back stronger in the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics and 2018 World Championship after failing to secure the title in their 13th appearance in the final.
“We will keep practising the best tactics and strategies to defeat China in the future,” coach Yasukasu Murakami said.
Chinese Taipei and North Korea settle for bronze after they lost in the semifinals.
The prizes for the winners were presented by International Table Tennis Federation deputy president Khalil Al-Mohannadi, Perfect China Company deputy president Eric Hooy Kok Wai and Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) president Tan Sri Koo Yuen Kim.
Eighty-one women’s teams and 91 men’s teams from 99 countries are vying for the world title and rankings in four different divisions, namely championships, second, third and fourth division battles in the weeklong tournament hosted by TTAM. — Bernama