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China's unparalled dominance in table tennis at the Olympics

Fan Zhedong
Fan Zhedong

China has dominated table tennis at the Olympics ever since it became an official medal sport in 1988. China is an undisputed leader of the sport. They have won 28 of the 32 gold medals that were on offer, showing sheer command over the sport.

Since the 1996 Olympic Games, China has failed to clinch the gold medal in only one event. It was in the men's singles event at the 2004 Athens Summer Games.

China won all of the gold medals in all the Table Tennis events at the 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics.

From Seoul 1988 to the Rio 2016 Olympics, China has won 53 medals, including 28 gold, 17 silver and 8 bronze in table tennis.

Since the 1988 edition, China has racked up the highest number of medals (53) and their closest rival, in terms of medal tally, has been South Korea with 18 medals.

China will again be looking to clean sweep the medal honors that will be up for grabs at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. This year China has sent the largest delegation comprising of 777 athletes and staff members to the Tokyo Olympics.

Earlier, China Table Tennis Association chief Liu Guoliang spoke to the press and expressed concern regarding the smaller playing space in Tokyo. He feels that the congested playing areas this time might affect the players' movement and might cause them injuries.

China’s Ace table tennis player Ma Long and Women’s World No. 1 Chen Meng will be leading the pack of 6 representations this Summer Games.

Let's have a look at China's six paddlers, who will grace the Tokyo Olympics:

Men's singles: World number one Fan Zhendong, Ma Long and Xu Xin

Women's singles: World number one Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha

Mixed doubles: Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen.

Also read: Schedule for the Tokyo Olympics 2021

Did China always dominate Table Tennis?

No, they did not. Hungary and the Czech Republic were the powerhouses of the sport before China. It was during the 90's that China first became a force to reckon with.

The Chinese have become a powerhouse in table tennis since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Lui Guoliang kickstarted the gold medal legacy, which is still being carried on. Guoliang was crowned the men’s singles champion in Atlanta. Kong Linghui carried it forward with gold at the Sydney Olympics.

ITTF Pro Tour Table Tennis Grand Finals: Ma Lin in action
ITTF Pro Tour Table Tennis Grand Finals: Ma Lin in action

China produced multiple Olympic and World Champions in Wang Liqin, Zhang Zike and Wang Hao. There were several other players including Ma Lin and Xu Xin who grabbed all the attention in the 2000's.

The current top Chinese table tennis stars are Ma Long, Fan Zhedong, Fang Bo and Yu Zhou.

Few of the Chinese women who have dominated the sport are Zhang Yining, Li Xiaoxia, Liu Shiwen, Ding Ning. The current top women's paddlers are Cheng Meng and Sun Yingsha.

With just two days left until the Tokyo Olympics 2020, the six member paddler's squad will look to sweep all the medals when they step out on the court to continue their legacy.

Also read: G. Sathiyan speaks about his special Japan connection that's boosting his Tokyo Olympics preparations

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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