Fan Zhendong, left, and Sun Yingsha won the singles titles today at the World Table Tennis Championships ©ITTF

World number one players Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha secured a Chinese clean sweep at the World Table Tennis Championships in Durban as the country won all five gold medals on offer.

In the men's singles final, Fan successfully defended his title against compatriot and world number two Wang Chuqin.

Wang saved six match points but could not hold out forever as Fan eventually prevailed 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 11-3 to maintain his place atop the world rankings.

"I did feel the pressure leading up to the match but managed to hold my nerve for the win," said Fan.

"This is my first time in Durban, and I am happy that there are many fans supporting me in person and from the TV, as I would not have been able to do so well without their support."

The women's singles event saw Sun down Chen Meng in another all-China decider.

After a closely contested battle, the Tokyo 2020 singles runner-up emerged victorious 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6.

It is the 22-year-old's maiden World Championships singles title after she fell short at the 2021 tournament in Houston.

"It was not easy for me to win the game," said Sun.

"I lost to Wang Manyu in the final last time, but perhaps I was luckier this time.

Ma Long was recognised for his contribution to the sport with a replica of the St. Bride Vase Trophy ©ITTF
Ma Long was recognised for his contribution to the sport with a replica of the St. Bride Vase Trophy ©ITTF

"Today, Chen Meng and I are both winners, and I have learned a lot from her as she is a very respectable opponent.

"This win has given me a lot of affirmation – as I have met with a lot of difficulties along the way, but I have managed to overcome them."

China's Wang Yidi was presented with the fair play award for her "demonstration of good sporting spirit" in the quarter-final stage.

She was eliminated after having nine match points saved by opponent Hina Hayata of Japan but graciously congratulated at the end of the game. 

China's Ma Long, who won the men's singles title on three consecutive occasions in 2015, 2017, and 2019, was awarded a replica of the historical St. Bride Vase Trophy.

"When I was young, I never thought that one day I would be standing here with this special trophy," said Ma, who has also won five Olympic gold medals.

"Being here today is really an honour for me.

"I want to thank my country, our great team, my family, my friends and fans, for always inspiring me, supporting me, and making me a better man.

"I also want to show my gratitude to my opponents, because without them, I would not be where I am today.

"I hope that more people will eventually know about table tennis and grow to like the sport.

"Thank you, South Africa. Thank you, Durban."