December 5 - China's men's and women's table tennis players successfully defended their respective team titles in an exciting day of sport at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Rabat today.
The line up of Kong Lingxuan, Liang Jingkun and Zhou Kai defeated the Japanese trio of Masataka Morizono, Yuto Muramatsu and Asuka Sakai 3-2 in the Moroccan capital to take China's eighth straight men's team gold medal.
"I am very excited about such a big gold medal," 17-year-old Liang, who won both of his games, said.
"My perseverance in both my matches was very good, which helped.
"It was not easy for me, as I was the backbone of the team, which is a lot of pressure."
Things were very different, however, for Morizono, who led the 2013 Men's Under-21 World Tour standings, and his compatriots, who have failed to claim a men's team victory since 2004.
"I played so well in my first match, beating Kong which gave us a 1-0 lead," he said.
"I was disappointed that I could not win my second match against Liang, but I had no chance, his serves were very difficult to read and he was very strong from the backhand."
The Polish and French men's teams won the bronze medals.
Meanwhile, it was a third straight junior team title for the Chinese woman, who also played and defeated Japan in the final.
Gu Yuting, Liu Gaoyang and Wang Manyu gave Mima Ito, Miu Hirano and Sakura Mori a 3-0 thrashing, while Romania and Hong Kong took the bronze medals.
"I am very pleased with this gold medal," Gaoyang said.
"My biggest advantage is that I keep my head in the game.
"I don't worry about who I am playing, or what is happening around me.
"I am just on my own."
The Chinese women's coach Yan Sen added: "We expected a tough match between Gu and Ito, as Ito knows our style now.
"However Gu had a good perpetration, so I was confident she would come through.
"She played very hard and her win came down to her strong training and spirit.
"Wang Manyu's performance was perfect in the final game due to her preparation for the match.
"She knows her weaknesses, so she has been able to train hard on them and overcome them.
"She is a very promising player."
Competition at the 2013 World Junior Championships continues tomorrow with singles and doubles action, before concluding with the finals on Sunday (December 8).
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