Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito claimed a historic first table tennis mixed doubles Olympic gold on Monday as they ended China’s unbeaten run in the sport at the Games after 17 years.
China had not lost a table tennis final since the 2004 Games but Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen squandered a 2-0 set lead and after tying at 3-3 were beaten 11-6 in the deciding frame on second match point when Xu netted a return after 1 hour 17 minutes.
The mixed doubles made its Olympic debut in Tokyo and Mizutani and Ito made the most of it and with it also got a first-ever gold for their country in the sport.
China has won 28 of the 33 Olympic table tennis golds, South Korea have three and Sweden and Japan one apiece. The last non-Chinese Olympic champion until Monday was South Korean Ryu Seung Min in men’s singles 2004 in Athens.
It was the eighth gold overall for Japan at their Tokyo home Games.