Singapore take six out of seven table tennis golds

Gao Ning of Singapore, pictured in Tokyo on May 3, 2014 - by Toru Yamanaka

Singapore’s dominance of the sport was no surprise but second seed Zhan’s win against Gao Ning, the top seed, in the final, came as a minor shock.

"I didn't have special strategies,” said Zhan, who won 11-9, 11-2, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7. 

“We are good friends and very close. We were both very conflicted because we're good friends. We wanted to play a non-Singaporean. But we also wanted to win more medals for Singapore.

"It was exciting but also painful because it was a long competition. It was a really stern test for us. But Gao is still the main man."

Gao was fought all the way in the semi-finals by England’s Liam Pitchford and managed to recover from 3-2 down to claim the match. But injury to his hand upset his rhythm in the final.

Gao remained pleased for his countryman despite his own personal loss.

“We're basically at the same level,” he said. “As long as the medals go to Singapore, then it's fine.

"Of course I wanted to win gold but the silver's not bad. I prepared well for the matches, especially for the semi-finals."

"I spent a lot of energy in the semi-finals against the English player. It was tough. I felt exhausted but I tried my best in the final. But in the end, the medals belong to Singapore."

Pitchford won the bronze medal with victory over India's Sharath Kamal by 4-2.

Feng and Yu comfortably beat Australians Lay Jian Fang, 41, and Miao Miao 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5 but the Singaporeans will have a busy schedule coming up.

"It's a good feeling - I'm very happy,” said Feng on her three medals. “My understanding with Yu is getting better and better.

"The Asian Games are in September so we only have a few days to rest. Time is really tight so I hope my body can recover quickly."

"It's not easy to win six golds,” said coach Jing Junhong. “This time we brought three young players. Apart from Feng they didn't have much experience. But they really showed their level. I'm delighted."

The mixed doubles was the only competition that Singapore did not excel at as England earned a clean sweep of their own in the mixed doubles as Danny Reed and Kelly Sibley surprised Zhan and Feng with a 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 win in the bronze medal match.

Husband and wife pair Paul and Joanna Drinkhall won gold with a tense 11-7, 11-3, 5-11, 10-12, 11-5 victory over compatriots Pitchford and Tin Tin Ho, the latter who was competing in her first Games aged 15.

"It's great for English table tennis, it's great to play our teammates, it's great to beat Singapore,” said Paul Drinkhall. "We'll celebrate with a few bottles of Champagne."