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Table tennis star Ai Fukuhara marries Taiwanese fellow Olympian

Japan's Ai Fukuhara smiles on the podium after her team clinched the bronze medal in women's team table tennis at the Rio Olympics, in this picture taken at the Riocentro Pavilion in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 16, 2016. (Mainichi)

Japanese table tennis star Ai Fukuhara, fresh from her bronze medal glory in women's team table tennis at the Rio Olympics, tied the knot with a Taiwanese athlete in the same sport earlier this month, it was learned on Sept. 8.

    Fukuhara, 27, and her groom Chiang Hung-chieh of the same age, who represented Taiwan at Rio, have already filed their marriage report.

    In April this year, Fukuhara revealed her relationship with Chiang in her blog, and has kept their dating open, such as taking a photograph together with Chiang during the Rio Olympic opening ceremony.

    A child table tennis sensation, Fukuhara took up the sport at age 3 and distinguished herself while earning the nickname, "Cry baby Ai-chan." She debuted in the Olympics at age 15 at the 2004 Athens Games, and at the 2008 Beijing Games served as the flag bearer for the Japanese delegation. Her team acquired the silver medal in women's team table tennis at the 2012 London Olympics -- the first ever Olympic silver in Japanese table tennis history.

    At Rio, Fukuhara led her team that included Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito, contributing to Japan's second straight Olympic medal in women's table tennis. Shortly after the Games, Fukuhara commented, "I'd like to bask in the glory for the time being, and take time to think about my future plans." She has recently told those around her, "I'd like to aim for the Tokyo Olympics."

    Fukuhara ranks ninth in the world, while Chiang sits 79th.

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