Tokyo, Japan, July 30, 2021: China’s Ma Long has been crowned Olympic men’s table tennis singles champion for the second time after defeating fellow countryman Fan Zhendong in a pulsating gold medal contest at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Friday, July 30.
A fierce rivalry that has been played out countless times on the world stage, Ma and Olympic debutant Fan knew each other’s games well, and both had experienced victory in high-pressure environments.
So, it came as no surprise to see the two elite athletes produce yet another spectacular show for all to enjoy as Ma won 4-2 (11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7).
Ma said: “I think both Fan Zhendong and myself achieved our goal of making it an all-China final. We are now determined to get the gold medal again for the Team event.
“I was enjoying myself and did not put too much pressure on myself today. You have just got to go out there and do your best. If your opponent makes a mistake, you take advantage of it. I managed to do all of that today.
“When you play against a quality player like Fan, you must be in top form and cannot afford to make too many mistakes. I guess I have the experience of winning on the biggest stage, including the Olympics, and that probably gave me the edge over him today.”
The victory sees Ma break new ground. He becomes the first-ever double Olympic champion in men’s singles, having also struck gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Ma now has four Olympic gold medals with his men’s team successes in 2012 and 2016, and has the opportunity to earn a fifth gold before the close of Tokyo 2020 in the team event.
China has now won 30 gold medals across all table tennis disciplines since the sport’s arrival on the Olympic scene in Seoul in 1988.
Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov saved four match points before beating Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju to win bronze 4-3 (13-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-4, 4-11, 15-13, 11-7).