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2月3日号 全日本卓球 14歳張本選手が最年少で優勝

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table
成績表(table tennis〈卓球〉と掛けている)
down ~
~を負かす(後出 defeat ~も同意)
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium
東京体育館
take the title
優勝する(後出 win one's fifth-straight title は5連覇する)
embrace
抱き締める
newly minted
なりたての(mint は作り出す)
Sichuan province
四川省
boy wonder
天才少年
paddle
卓球のラケット
tutelage
指導
sweep up titles
タイトルを総なめにする
mature
成長する
citizenship
国籍
surname
名字
committee
委員会
Elite Academy
五輪でのメダル獲得を目指し中高生を育成するプログラム
up against ~
~と対戦して
sharpen
磨く
forehand
ラケットを持つ手と同じ側で打つこと
then
当時の
role model
手本となる人
clash
(ここでは)対戦
stroke
打球
warrior
戦士
glory
栄光

Top of the Table   

Fourteen-year-old table tennis player Harimoto Tomokazu downed Rio Olympic bronze medalist Mizutani Jun 4-2 at the All Japan Championships held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Jan. 21, to become Japan's youngest table tennis singles champion.

The previous record holder was Hirano Miu, who became the women's singles champion at age 16 last year. The youngest male champion had been Mizutani, who took the title at age 17 in 2007.

On Jan. 21, Harimoto fought aggressively throughout the game to stop nine-time national champ Mizutani, 28, from winning his fifth-straight title. When Harimoto won, he ran to his father and coach Harimoto Yu to embrace him in a joyful hug.

"This is the best moment. From now on I want to make this my era," the newly minted champion declared.

Harimoto was born and raised in Sendai. His father Yu is a table tennis coach from China's Sichuan province, and his mother Zhang Ling once represented China at the world table tennis championships. The boy wonder first picked up a paddle at age 2, and progressed under his father's tutelage, sweeping up titles as he matured.

Both he and Yu obtained Japanese citizenship in 2014 and changed their surname to Harimoto. In 2016, the younger Harimoto entered the Japanese Olympic Committee's Elite Academy. Up against top players, Harimoto was able to sharpen his forehand, which had been a weak point. In 2017, the then 13-year-old became the youngest ever member of the Japanese national team, and defeated his table tennis role model Mizutani for the first time during the second round of the world championships.

After their most recent clash on Jan. 21, Mizutani told reporters that Harimoto's "technique has matured since last year, he makes fewer basic mistakes and his strokes got more powerful." He also said that Harimoto "is at the same level as Chinese national team players. No one can win against him, no matter who it is."

Japan now has a new top-level table tennis warrior to accompany Mizutani in the battle for gold medal glory at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

[本文 - 345 words]

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