TOKYO (Reuters) – German paddlers Shan Xiaona, Petrissa Solja and Han Ying, who won silver five years ago in Rio, aim for another team medal at the Tokyo Games after beating their South Korean opponents 3 -2 in the women’s team event on Tuesday.
Shan and Solja started strong in their first doubles match against Shin Yubin and Jeon Jihee, but eventually faltered to lose 2-3 to the South Korean duo.
The two teams battled in close matches in the following singles, leading to a tie at the end of Game 4.
But Shan regained control to seal the victory over Choi Hyojoo in the deciding fifth game. The 38-year-old paddler sighed in relief and wiped away tears with towels as her teammates rushed to kiss her.
“I’m so proud of my teammates,” Solja said, as Han quickly hugged her. “We kinda think we can surprise us. We won’t go to the game thinking we’re going to lose for sure.”
Shan, Solja and Han recorded the best all-time result for Germany in the women’s team event at the Rio 2016 Games and said they are now more confident than they were five years ago.
“We’ve won so many titles together over the past few years. We know we can achieve anything. We believe in each other even if one of us isn’t playing very well. We keep going and we want to win a more medal, ”said Solja.
In the men’s team event, Sweden fought hard but ultimately had to concede a 3-1 loss to the host country, which consisted of Rio 2016 team silver medalists Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa as well as number four world Tomokazu Harimoto.
Niwa and Harimoto led Japan to a strong start, beating Kristian Karlsson and Anton Kaellberg 3-1.
But world number nine Mattias Falck managed to turn the tide by beating gold medalist Jun Mizutani in mixed doubles with his solid but steady backhand shots.
Harimoto made his way to defeat Kaellberg in Game 3. His teammate Niwa scored a 3-0 victory over Falck.
(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)