Coach and tennis players of team China acknowledge the audience after winning the table tennis women's team gold medal match between China and Japan at London 2012 Olympic Games, London, Britain, Aug. 7, 2012. China won the match and claimed the gold medal of the event. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)
LONDON, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- China clinched the women's Olympic team table tennis gold medal here Tuesday, after fighting off a strong challenge from Japan to win the final 3-0.
It was the 23rd gold medal that China won at the Olympic table tennis competition since the sport was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Games.
Finishing second, the Japanese women also made history by winning Japan's first Olympic medal in table tennis.
Li Xiaoxia, the newly crowned Olympic champion in women's singles, dropped one game in the opening match against Japan's Ai Fukuhara, but ended up winning 3-1 (11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5).
World number one Ding Ning finished off Japan's 19-year-old Kasumi Ishikawa 3-0 (11-4, 12-10, 11-4).
Li teamed up with Beijing Olympic team gold medal winner Guo Yue in the doubles against Japan's Ishikawa and Sayaka Hirano. The Japanese pair fought bravely to keep their match alive, but was trounced by Li and Guo 3-1 (11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5).
Both China and Japan had steamrolled all opponents with stunning victories since the start of the Olympic women's team table tennis tournament. The two Asian powers won all matches 3-0 before their final showdown.