The event introduced in Beijing in 2008, now with the appearance of Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, it means that China has relied on nine players in the quest to secure women’s team gold at an Olympic Games.
They are the debutants, named alongside Liu Shiwen for Tokyo 2020, the five day event scheduled to start on Sunday 1st August.
Performances in recent years suggest they are clear favourites, all have major titles to their credit.
In the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, they are charged with extending one of the most incredible records in sport.
Now 13 years ago in the premises of the Peking University Guo Yue, Wang Nan and Zhang Yining set the standard at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games; four years later in London, Guo Yue once again on duty, Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia made their debuts.
Later in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the Liu Shiwen completed the team, Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia again in action.
Noteworthy names and on each occasion noteworthy performances; always China has won gold and always every fixture has witnessed a 3-0 win in their favour.
Furthermore, in the women’s team event, no member of the Chinese team has ever been extended to the full five games.
Even more outstanding in what is now 39 matches (in 2008, the format was four teams per group, first position advancing to the semi-finals as opposed the straight knock-out in 2012 and 2016), on only 10 occasions has a player been extended to four games.
Group v Croatia: Wang Nan beat Andreja Bakula10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9
Group v Austria: Guo Yue beat Li Qiangbing 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4
Final v Singapore: Wang Nan beat Feng Tianwei 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6
Final v Singapore: Zhang Yining beat Li Jiawei 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7
Round One v Spain: Guo Yue beat Sara Ramirez 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8
Quarter-Final v Netherlands: Ding Ning beat Li Jie 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7
Final v Japan: Li Xiaoxia beat Ai Fukuhara 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5
Final v Japan: Guo Yue / Li Xiaoxia v Sayaka Hirano / Kasumi Ishikawa 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Semi-Final v Singapore: Ding Ning beat Zhou Yihan 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2
Final v Germany: Ding Ning / Liu Shiwen beat Shan Xiaona / Petrissa Solja 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7.
Now that is the example to be followed; in Tokyo, the aim for the three ladies is to be first but not the first to lose a match or be extended to five games!
Editor: Ian Marshall