• Kyodo


Five-time national table tennis champion Sayaka Hirano brought down the curtain on her career Saturday after she was defeated in her first women’s singles match at the Japan Table Tennis League Big Tournament.

Hirano, 31, who last month announced she was retiring after the tournament, was seeded first but went down 3-1 to Yuko Fujii.

“I feel I’ve done everything,” Hirano said. “I might have wanted to play a little better match. (But) I’ve gone into each match thinking as if it were the last, and managed to end without any regrets.”

At the 2012 London Games, Hirano helped Japan capture its first-ever Olympic table tennis medal, as she combined with Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa to win the silver medal in the women’s team event.

Hirano was also Ishikawa’s doubles partner for 10 years.

“I’ve lived my life giving everything (to table tennis); we (me and table tennis) were inseparable. I’m really grateful to it,” Hirano said.

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