Chen Meng and Olympic Champ Ma Long to lead China's table tennis defence in Tokyo

Three-time gold medallist Ma could become the most decorated table tennis player in Olympic history, and will also team up with men's world number one Fan Zhendong at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

By Sanjeev Palar
Picture by 2020 Getty Images

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Ma Long and women's world number one Chen Meng will spearhead China's challenge to repeat their clean sweep of all table tennis titles on offer at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

The Asian nation will look to retain all four gold medals won at Rio 2016 - men's and women's team, men's and women's singles - as well as add a fifth in the newly introduced mixed doubles event that will make its debut in Japan.

Ma is on the verge of creating Olympic history at the Games, and will be joined by world number one, Fan Zhendong, in their men's singles efforts, with Xu Xin joining them in their defense of the team title.

In women's singles, Chen and world number three Sun Yingsha will look to follow in the footsteps of Ding Ning, who clinched gold in Brazil but has not been named to the squad. They will be joined by reigning world champion Liu Shiwen in the team event.

Current mixed doubles world champions Xu and Liu will team up to contest the maiden gold on offer in Tokyo.

Ma Long on cusp of Olympic history

With 12 world championship titles to his name and three Olympic gold medals, 32-year-old Ma Long, who is set to make his third Games appearance, is in a position to become the most decorated table tennis player in Olympic history.

Another gold medal for "The Dragon" will tie Ma with compatriot Wang Nan, who has four golds and a silver, so if Ma is able to win both his events, he will become the only player to win five table tennis gold medals at the Olympics.

When Fan was named to the national team at the age of 15, he was the youngest player for China. He went on to become the youngest World Tour Champion and the youngest World Champion. In 2014 he won two gold medals at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

The 24-year-old, now a four-time world champ, will now look to add full Olympic honours to his name when he makes his Games debut in Japan.

Meanwhile Xu, who helped clinch team gold in Rio, will be aiming for a repeat of that success in Japan. The 31-year-old, who has ten world championship titles to his name, will add depth to the men's squad.

His mixed doubles partnership with Liu has assured them both a spot on the squad, but the pressure will be on the reigning world champions to deliver gold in the event.

30-year-old Liu will be the most experienced of the female players having won team gold at Rio 2016.

But 27-year-old Chen is a three-time world champion and current world number one.

Although the youngest on the team, 20-year-old Sun has a doubles world championship title to her name, and will look to add to her two Youth Olympic Games gold medals from Buenos Aires 2018.

Since the sport was officially added to the Olympic program at Seoul 1988, China has won 28 of a possible 32 gold medals in the event.

China's table tennis team for Tokyo 2020

MALE:

  • Ma Long - men's singles & men's team
  • Fan Zhendong - men's singles & men's team
  • Xu Xin - men's team & mixed doubles

FEMALE:

  • Chen Meng - women's singles & women's team
  • Sun Yingsha - women's singles & women's team
  • Liu Shiwen - women's team & mixed doubles