Japan beat China 4-3 in a historic mixed doubles match that gave Japan its first ever table tennis gold on July 26, 2021.
Mixed doubles table tennis is MUST WATCH TV— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) July 26, 2021
The Japanese duo Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito produced a stunning victory after a seven-game thriller against long-invincible Chinese pair Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, according to Kyodo News.
Reuters reported that it was the first Olympic gold for both Japanese paddlers.
China has dominated the sport since it was introduced in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and has not missed out on a gold medal since 2004.
According to Japan Today, while China got off to a fast start, winning the first two games 11-5 and 11-7, Japan made a comeback in the third, beating their rivals 11-8.
Japan then won again in two subsequent nail-biters – with 11-9 in the fourth and fifth games respectively.
In the sixth, China managed to tie with Japan in matches won, after winning 11-6.
But in the final deciding game, Japan would reclaim the lead with a dominating 8-0, before proceeding to an 11-6 win — and the gold.
Reactions from netizens
On various social media platforms, many netizens took to congratulating Japan on their big win.
Some commented that it had been an amazing comeback, while others even hailed it as a "legacy performance".
🎊🎊🎊🎊🎉🇯🇵👏👏👏👏🍻🍻— SU TSENG JEN (@su_tseng_jen) July 26, 2021
Legacy performance here by Japan in table tennis— the man on mars (@kolebvcon) July 25, 2021
On Chinese media platform Weibo, many netizens also took to expressing their pride in the Chinese pair, saying they were still the best and the nation's pride despite the team silver.
Background on table tennis
While the mixed doubles event has been played in the World Championships, the 2020 Games marks the first time it was played at the Olympics.
For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there are the men's and women's single, team, and mixed doubles events.
Matches are played over the best of seven games, with the first to 11 points winning each game.
Top image via Getty Images