Chen Meng maintains tradition
Staged in Manama, the capital and largest city in Bahrain, in 2011 at the World Junior Championships, China’s Chen Meng completed a clean sweep of possible titles, a decade later the potential was firmly realized.
On Thursday 5th August, alongside Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, she secured women’s team gold to add to the women’s singles title won one week earlier.
She joins illustrious names, who likewise in the women’s events, did the same. Prior to this year, at every Olympic Games, commencing in Seoul, one player has always completed the full house. The introduction of mixed doubles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games meant for the first time the feat was not completed.
Commencing with Chen Jing won in 1988 in Seoul and concluding in 2004 in Athens, the women’s singles winner, also struck women’s doubles gold; from 2008 in Beijing until the present day, the owner of the women’s singles title was also a member of the successful women’s team. Needless to say, always Chinese.
Chen Meng maintained that record.
Referring to securing two titles as a clean sweep or full house may seem an exaggeration but let is not forget it is the Olympic Games and most certainly you do not want to become the first ever player to break the tradition!
Now can Chen Meng repeat the feat in Paris and join colleagues Deng Yaping and Zhang Yining who won the women’s singles title in consecutive Games?
Deng Yaping won in Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996), Zhang Yining in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008); prior to Tokyo 2020, they were the only female players never to lose a match in any table tennis discipline at an Olympic Games.
Chen Meng and Wang Manyu, who in Tokyo only played in the women’s team event, join the club.
However, in her quest to emulate Deng Yaping and Zhang Yining is time against Chen Meng?
Deng Yaping was 23 years old when she won for a second time in Atlanta, Zhang Yining 26 years of age when she completed the double in Beijing.
Already Chen Meng is 27 years of age; she is the oldest ever winner!
Can she become the first 30 year old to win women’s singles gold?
In Tokyo at 31 years of age, Ma Long became the oldest men’s singles winner, Chen Meng has a role model.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: ITTF