Table tennis player Chiang Hung-chieh (???), a member of Taiwan's national team, and popular Japanese table tennis player Ai Fukuhara (???) formally announced their marriage Wednesday.
At a news conference in Tokyo, Fukuhara, dressed in a graceful kimono, was the first to appear, saying that she and Chiang had registered their marriage in Tokyo Sept. 1 and planned to also register it in Taiwan at a later date.
Chiang, tall, handsome and wearing a suit, immediately became the focus of the limelight.
Fukuhara said she loved Chiang because he always listens to her, no matter how trivial the subject matter, while Chiang said that Fukuhara makes him feel "warm and steady."
The newlyweds also showed off their wedding rings, which have a table tennis motif and were designed by Chiang himself.
Asked how Chiang proposed to her, Fukuhara said she would rather have her husband answer the question.
"I got the chance to propose to her after the Rio Olympics. I gave her a key and expressed the hope that she would become the master of the new home." Both Chiang and Fukuhara represented their respective countries in Rio in August.
Fukuhara said: "I was taken aback at the time. My mind went blank and I can't remember what I said at the time."
When asked about their future plans, Fukuhara said Chiang will play table tennis in the Czech Republic this year, and will train in Germany. Both of them will then divide their time between Taiwan and Japan.
Asked if they plan to compete in mixed doubles in the future, Chiang said that "this is not part of our plan for now. But if the chance arises, we'll give it a try."
When the news of their seeing each other first surfaced earlier this year, it took many by surprise.
Fukuhara started to play table tennis at the age of three, and her cute and sweet looks captured the hearts of many Japanese. She is able to speak Chinese because she was once trained in northeastern China.
As she is very popular in Japan, and her ranking -- fourth in the world at her peak -- is much higher than Chiang's (47th), some in Japan termed the union a "mismatch."
Both are 27 and have known each other through competitions since they were small. But they got serious after Chiang provided encouragement to Fukuhara after she suffered injuries at the end of 2014.
Chiang's professional career dropped to its lowest ebb after he himself suffered an injury in 2010, and he only picked up the sport again because of his love of the game.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel