The victory recorded by Japan over Singapore at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Team event at the London Olympic Games on the evening of Sunday 5th August, in the packed to capacity ExCeL North Arena, was one of the most emotional moments of the twelve days of action.
In fact it was the most emotional moment. Tears of joy streamed down the faces of Sayaka Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa after they had secured doubles success against Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu.
It was a win which meant Japan had secured their first ever medal in the table tennis events an Olympic Games.
Furthermore at ther least, it was silver.
Could Not Hold Back Tears Soon Ai Fukuhara joined the tearful celebration and even the stoic Yazakazu Murakami, the Women’s Team coach; though he summoned all his willpower, could not hold back the tears.
Ecstatic Celebrations Tears soon turned to smiles as joyful celebrations ensued and on returning to Japan, there were ecstatic celebrations; unparalled scenes as the country honoured its Olympic medal winners.
At 11.00am on Monday 20th August, in 30 degrees centigrade of heat, no less than five opened topped buses plus two cars commenced a drive of one kilometer through Ginza, a suburb of Tokyo.
Twenty Minute Drive On board were the Olympic medallists; all waving to the packed throngs of supporters.
The journey took 20 minutes, for all concerned, a most memorable 20 minutes. An estimated 500,000 delirious fans were present to pay tribute to Japan’s most successful Olympic team ever.
Best Ever Japan finished in sixth place in the overall medal table with a total of 38 medals. The Land of the Rising Sun won seven gold, 14 silver and six bronze medals; it was for the country unprecedented success.
The Japanese Women’s Team was very much the centre of attraction for the media Photo by Toshiro Nirei
Stunned by Reaction “I was so surprised to see so many people there”, smiled Ai Fukuhara, who like everyone else was stunned by the reaction.
An amazing scene, an amazing reaction; a tribute to the country’s Olympians, a tribute to Ai Fukuhara, Kasumi Ishikawa and Sayaka Hirano; a tribute hard earned and well deserved.