Beijing: After 7 days of competition and under the leadership of two veterans Chen Long and Liu Cheng, the Fujian team won its sixth men’s team title at China’s 14th National Games on September 11.
The Fujian team had to dig deep and fought for 4 hours before emerging champions by defeating Guangdong 3-2 in the final.
32-year-old Rio Olympics gold medalist and Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, Chen Long, started playing at China’s National Games in 2005. Chen had served as the number one men’s singles player for Fujian since 2009, and he had been leading the Fujian team to reach the finals for four consecutive times.
Looking back at the ups and downs of the last 16 years, Chen said it brought back a lot of mixed feelings for him since this would be his last participation at the China National Games.
“In the blink of an eye, 16 years have passed very quickly, and I am still happy and proud of myself. 16 years ago, I did not expect myself to grow gradually. After going through so much failure, frustration, and pressure, I am still able to stand confidently on the court, all due to my hard work and persistence,” said Chen.
Chen Long beat Guangdong’s Su Hansen 2-0 to win the first point for Fujian before Guangdong’s Ren Xiangyu/Liang Weikeng and Lei Lanxi won the first men’s doubles and second men’s singles to reverse the lead for Guangdong at 2-1.
At the critical moment, the Fujian’s second men’s double pair, Liu Cheng/He Jiting, withstood the pressure, fired on all cylinders to slam past Guangdong’s Deng Jiao/Wu Tuobin 21-13, 21-7 to level the overall score at 2-2.
In the final match, Weng Hongyang’s victory in the third mens’ singles against Guangdong’s Su Xuyang successfully helped Fujian clinched the China National Games men’s team title.
In the women’s team final, spearheaded by World No. 7 women’s doubles pair, Du Yue/Li Yin Hui, and World No. 18 women’s singles player Wang Zhi Yi, the Hubei team overcame the Jiangsu team 3-0 to regain China National Games women’s team title after 46 years.