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Table tennis: Japanese 3-time Olympic medalist Kasumi Ishikawa retires

Kasumi Ishikawa, the illustrious Japanese table tennis player, has declared her retirement from the sport on Monday. The 30-year-old southpaw has won three Olympic women’s team medals and has been crowned national singles champion five times.

Ishikawa was a member of the team that secured silver at the London Olympics in 2012, which was Japan’s first-ever Olympic table tennis medal. She then went on to earn bronze in the same event at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, followed by another silver at her home Olympics in Tokyo in 2021. Ishikawa’s achievements have cemented her legacy as one of the most decorated players in the sport’s history.

“I feel I’ve given everything I have and have decided to retire,” Ishikawa wrote on Instagram.

The Yamaguchi Prefecture native finished fourth in singles at the 2012 Olympics and won the mixed doubles title with compatriot Maharu Yoshimura at the 2017 world championships.

Ishikawa also served as the vice-captain of the Japanese delegation at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m happy to have fought at the world’s top level and made many dreams come true,” she said. “I want to take on many more challenges by not forgetting the spirit I learned through table tennis.”

Members of Japan’s table tennis community paid tribute to Ishikawa following her announcement.

“I learned more from her than I can put into words,” Yoshimura tweeted. “I am the person I am today because of Ishikawa-san. Becoming the best in the world together is something I will treasure for life.”

Ai Fukuhara, a member of the medal-winning 2012 and 2016 Olympic women’s teams, credited Ishikawa for helping Japanese table tennis reach new heights.

“I am proud to have fought side by side in the same era,” Fukuhara wrote on Chinese social media service Weibo. “Without Kasumi, Japan could not have achieved those results.”

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