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Chinese female paddlers defend Olympic team gold in Rio
   2016-08-17 09:14:26    Xinhua      Web Editor: Xie Cheng

Chinese paddlers Ding Ning (L), Liu Shiwen compete during the table tennis women's team final event in Rio Olympics on August 16, 2016. [Photo: Xinhua/Shen Bohan]

All-time leading Chinese secured the third table tennis gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Tuesday, after easily rounding up the team final against Germany in straight three games.

It has been the 27th Olympic gold medal won by China in table tennis since the sport was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Their opponents, unexpected finalists who outlasted the 2012 London Olympic runners-up Japan in full five games Monday in the semis, however, should be satisfied after settling for a silver, a first ever Olympic medal in history for Germany's women paddlers.

With two Grand Slam winners and the current world No. 1 Liu Shiwen in the team, China's head coach Kong Linghui, a Grand Slam winner himself 16 years ago, faced no dilemma in lining up his squad.

Keeping in mind that German Chinese Han Ying is the top force on the other end of the table, Kong opted for Liu to follow up Li Xiaoxia in the opening two games, rather than newly crowned singles champion Ding Ning, who's not as good as the duo at playing choppers.

The match turned exactly as what Kong expected as Li overcame fierce resistance from the seventh-ranked Han 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 before the 25-year-old Liu made short work of the local born German Petrissa Solja 11-3, 11-5, 11-4.

China only conceded one set in the third and doubles game, as the pair of Liu and Ding surrendering the third set 11-9 to Solja and another German Chinese Shan Xiaona but came back on court with even firmer hands, wrapping it up 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7.

Earlier on Tuesday, long-time icon Ai Fukuhara's Japanese team beat Singapore 3-1 to clinch the bronze medal.

It's the 15-year-old Mima Ito, however, having sparkled in the third-place play-off as the teenage sensation won two key points in doubles before she completed the Japanese women players' request for a medal with a stunning 3-1 win over world No. 4 Feng Tianwei.  

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