Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito Claim Mixed Doubles Gold at Tokyo 2020

(Photo: ITTF)

An outstanding comeback victory over top seeds, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen of China, saw Japan’s Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani take gold in the first-ever Mixed Doubles event at Tokyo 2020.

The result marks a historic occasion for the host country, as the Japanese duo seized their first gold medal across all table tennis categories since the sport made its debut at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

Heading into the final, the odds were stacked against the duo from Japan. With China having won 28 Olympic Gold medals in the sport, as well as dominating seeding lists in each respective category in Tokyo, few could have foreseen success for Ito and Mizutani.

Furthermore, considering that China hasn’t dropped a single gold medal since Athens 2004 when South Korea’s Ryu Seungmin defeated top seed Wang Hao in a pulsating penhold finale, it seemed the Japanese pair would be out of their depth against their counterparts from neighbouring China. Despite this, Ito and Mizutani battled through a seven game thriller, coming away with their very first Olympic Gold medals.

“I’m just so proud. We knew the Chinese pair were very strong, and we knew we would have to give 150%! Even then, we weren’t sure if we would have enough to overcome them. I really feel the Olympic Games is a special occasion. At the last Olympics in Rio, I won against Xu Xin, and now today I have enjoyed a second miracle,” – Jun Mizutani

With the inaugural Mixed Doubles event now concluded, Team Japan are looking to replicate their incredible achievement in the remaining table tennis categories. Mizutani is set to help Japan vie for a potential medal in the Men’s Team event, while Mima Ito enters the Women’s Singles and Team events as the third and second seed respectively.

“I’m just so, so happy! 0-2 was very tough, but I switched my mindset, and after that, I was able to play more to my style. I really thought I shouldn’t be mentally defeated. I felt a great deal of pressure at 0-2, but I knew I could overcome it with my partner. I just enjoy the Olympic Games so much because there are lots of unpredictable elements. Today’s match has convinced me that I can do good tomorrow,” – Mima Ito

For Team China, however, damage limitation will surely be of the utmost importance as they prepare to uphold their magnanimous image in the world of table tennis. Like Mizutani, Xu Xin will represent his country in the Men’s Team event, while Liu Shiwen follows suit in the Women’s Team.

“We have to move on and focus on our teams and singles events. We cannot dwell too much on this loss. We are confident of bouncing back and will not let this loss affect us too much. I believe Team China will come back stronger,” – Liu Shiwen

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  1. Pingback: Chen Meng Takes Home Women's Singles Crown At Tokyo 2020 | SD Sport

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