The women’s table tennis team won a fourth medal for Hong Kong at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, recovering from an initial defeat to beat Germany 3-1 in the city’s most successful Games.
Doo Hoi-kem, Lee Ho-ching, and Minnie Soo lost their first match 1-3, but won the subsequent matches 3-1, 3-0 and 3-1.
Doo, 24, Lee, 28, and Soo, 23, bagged the city’s second ever Olympic medal in table tennis, after their coach Li Ching won silver with Ko Lai-chak in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Soo, who won two matches during the game, said after the match that she was shocked by the result.
“Winning the first match already felt impossible to me,” said Soo. “I’m really grateful to those two [Doo and Lee], we have supported and encouraged each other since the first match till now, I think it’s a big factor to our victory today.”
Lee choked up when the reporter asked the third-time Olympian how she felt about finally winning a medal: “We finally did it on the third try,” said Lee. “Because each time we have aimed for medals, after waiting for who-knows-how-many-years, we finally did it.”
The 28-year-old also thanked her team mates, saying that their performance was “200 marks.”
Doo said that she “still feels like she’s dreaming,” and that she hoped they can become role models for younger players.
The table tennis team event comprised of five matches, the first one being a double’s game, followed by four single’s games. Whichever team scores three games wins.
Prior to the bronze medal match, the double’s game was played by Soo and Lee. However, the team changed their line up ahead of the match by putting Lee and Doo in the first game on Thursday.
Li described the move as “risky,” but it later resulted in a “miracle.”
“We would like to thank all Hong Kong citizens for their support,” said coach Li, who gained popularity during the games with his comments. “There are a lot of people to thank, including the Hong Kong Table Tennis Association and the Hong Kong Sports Institute… Most importantly I’d like to thank myself, as I have contributed even more.”
“The outstanding performance of them has resulted from their years of hard work,” Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui said. “We should praise and learn from their determination towards greatness. We are proud of them.”