• Kyodo

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Mima Ito and Hina Hayata will go home with bronze medals after losing their Table Tennis World Championships women’s doubles semifinal on Monday.

The two 16-year-olds failed to win the big points in the first two games before falling to China’s Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen 4-1. Ito and Hayata had 11-10 game point in the first game, and were even 9-9 in the second, but failed to finish on both occasions in their 14-12, 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 defeat.

“We were striving to be strong enough to beat Chinese opponents, but we are not there yet,” Ito said. “We want to achieve much more than this.”

Japan had not reached a women’s doubles final since the 1971 worlds in Nagoya, but the bronze medal is the fifth medal for Japan in Dusseldorf.

“We’ve only been paired together for four months, and we’ve been practicing for all we were worth,” Hayata said. “Given that, bronze is quite an accomplishment, but we came here to get gold.

“So I want to go back into training with Mima and strive once more for gold.”

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