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Date : 27 Jun 2017
Tokyo, Japan, June 27, 2017: Their timing was impeccable. Just six days before the IOC Executive Board approved the inclusion of mixed doubles table tennis for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Japanese pair Kasumi Ishikawa and Maharu Yoshimura were crowned International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) mixed doubles world champions in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The duo secured Japan’s first world championship mixed doubles gold medal in 48 years, in front of a full house of 8,000 spectators – and the sport is set to be one of the most in-demand events at the Tokyo Games. Ishikawa is determined to be there.
“I am so happy that mixed doubles will be included in Tokyo 2020,” she said. “I have so much fun playing mixed doubles, and now I have a chance of winning gold in this cool event in front of my home crowd. It is a dream come true.”
Her partner, the 23-year-old Yoshimura, is very aware of the pressure that now sits on his and Ishikawa’s shoulders, as they seek to win Olympic mixed doubles gold on home soil. “I’m happy that the mixed doubles event is now part of Tokyo 2020. It’s our chance for the gold medal at the Olympic Games and we must work hard towards that,” he said.
“Winning the mixed doubles title at the World Championships has boosted our confidence. Ishikawa and I will most likely continue to partner each other in the event. We have been a strong pair and we have a chance for the gold medal again.”
Mixed doubles has been a constant fixture in the ITTF World Championships since 1926, and the addition of the event to the Olympic programme means that it joins the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s team and women’s team contests.
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