- 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
- take the title
- 優勝する（後出 win one's fifth-straight title は５連覇する）
- newly minted
- なりたての（mint は作り出す）
- Sichuan province
- boy wonder
- sweep up titles
- Elite Academy
- up against ～
- role model
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]