China sweep golds at world team championships
Beijing (AFP): China completed the cleansweep of gold medals at the world team table tennis championship on Sunday as their women beat defending champions Singapore and the men saw off Germany.
Both the Chinese teams are defending Olympic champions after claiming gold at Beijing four years ago when the team event made its debut and China’s teams are favourites for gold at the London Games later this year.
Overall, China have won 36 gold medals in both the men’s and women’s world team championships since the tournament began in 1926.
After their men beat hosts Germany 3-0 in their final, the Chinese dragon roared again as the women took revenge for their defeat two years ago in Moscow with victory over Singapore.
“Again we are world champions and that is well-deserved,” said China men’s coach Liu Guoliang, whose team won the title for the sixth time in succession.
“The German team is the strongest in Europe, I hope they continue developing.
“We have felt a lot of pressure coming here, Germany is a nation that tests us, so we were even more prepared then for the last tournament in 2010. Every game was very close.”
Germany put up a brave fight as their top player Timo Boll came back from 2-0 down to level the first match before losing 3-2 defeat to Zhang Jike.
“I’ve never played in front of such a fantastic backdrop. I was very motivated,” said Zhang.
Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov was then dismissed 3-0 by Ma Long, but in the third game Patrick Baum took the first game against Wang Hao before falling to a 3-1 defeat.
In the women’s final, China’s Ding Ning put her side ahead with a 3-1 win over Feng Tianwei, while compatriot Li Xiaoxia also had few problems in her 3-1 win against Wang Yuegu.
It fell to Guo Yue to seal victory and she dominated Li Jiawei with a 3-0 win in straight games.
“It was a high-level encounter in front of the passionate German crowd and the atmosphere on the court after the game was amazing,” said Chinese coach Shi Zhi Rao.
The world championships are part of the Olympic qualification process with final places to be decided at forthcoming tournaments.