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Chinese paddlers keep tight grip

Chinese paddlers have proved once again that they are the best - at both the Olympics and the Paralympics.

At the conclusion of all 16 individual Paralympic competitions Thursday, the host nation had swept eight titles, five in women`s events and the other three in men`s.

France followed with three while Germany, Russia, Austria, Denmark and Poland took one apiece.

Table tennis has been a full medal sport at the Paralympics since the first Games in Rome in 1960.

The tournament includes both team and individual events, with players allocated to classes according to their disabilities: The lower the number, the more severe the disability.

Classes 1 to 5 are for wheelchair players, while classes 6 to 10 are for standing players.

Since China began taking part in the Paralympics in 1984, table tennis` traditional powerhouse has bagged 19 titles. Women athletes won gold for the first time in 1988 with three titles; and in Athens 2004, China led the gold medal tally with seven.

After Chinese women`s players took all four wheelchair individual titles on offer on Wednesday, Lei Lina added another by seeing off compatriot Liu Meili 3-0 in the all-China women`s class 9 final yesterday morning.

Later, their male counterparts delivered an equally brilliant show.

Young gun Feng Panfeng claimed the title after whitewashing Jean-Philippe Robin of France in the men`s class 3 final, followed by Chen Gang`s victory in class 8 and Ge Yang`s win in class 9-10.

In other matches, Thu Kamkasomphou blanked Sweden`s Josefin Abrahamsson in the women`s individual class 8 final to take the first title for France.

Her male compatriots did one better to take two gold medals as Vincent Boury upset teammate Stephane Molliens in class 2 and Christophe Durand beat Jung Eun-chang 3-2 in class 4-5.

In other finals yesterday, Natalia Martyasheva of Russia beat compatriot Yulia Ovsyannikova 3-1 in the women`s class 6-7.

Andreas Vevera of Austria beat Cho Jae-kwan of South Korea 3-0 in men`s class 1.

Jochen Wollmert of Germany outplayed Ye Chaoqun of China 3-1 in the men`s class 7.

Peter Rosemeier won Denmark a gold in the men`s class 6 after defeating German Daniel Arnold 3-1.

Date:2008-9-12 10:59:00     
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