Sun Yingsha and Wang Chuqin won respective golds in the women’s and men’s table tennis singles competitions at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Wednesday 10 October.
Their victories have put China on course for a repeat of their Nanjing 2014 hat-trick, where the nation’s players won both singles and the mixed team event.
“I watched the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games,” said Sun. “I was inspired by those Games even though I was already a table tennis player. And now I know what it feels like to be part of this experience.”
Miu Hirano (JPN) had lost only one game in the competition on her way to the gold medal match against Sun, and was able to win the second game of the final after a narrow 13-11 defeat in the first. From then on, however, Sun took control to take the match 4-1.
Shortly after the women’s final, in a packed Tecnopolis Park Hall A, there was a second gold-medal showdown between China and Japan, with Wang keen to emulate his compatriot.
To see how many people came to see and support us is something which makes me very happy.Wang Chuqin People's Republic of China
Wang started well and went ahead with an 11-8 win in the first game, but Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) fought back to take the second game 11-5.
Wang bounced back to storm into a 10-0 lead before leaving the ball in the net with his service in a sporting gesture. With the game at 10-1, Harimoto returned the favour, for Wang to take a 2-1 lead.
That third game proved the turning point and after clinching the gold medal with a 4-1 result, Wang took his shirt off and showed it to the ecstatic crowd in celebration.
“I feel the support from the crowd,” he said. “To see how many people came to see and support us is something which makes me very happy.”
Kanak Jha (USA) needed all seven games to see off Lin Yun-Ju (TPE) and win the men’s singles bronze. As a measure of how evenly matched the pair were, Jha won 64 points to Lin’s 63 despite leading 3-1 at one stage.
Andreea Dragoman (ROU) won the women’s singles bronze, beating Archana Kamath (IND) 4-1.
“I lost the first game, but I knew I had time to recover,” said Dragoman. “I won a very close second game and it was then that I knew I had a good shot at winning the medal.”