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Host reaps golden harvest in table tennis

China`s table tennis players easily bagged more than half the gold on offer at the Beijing Paralympics, thanks to stellar preparations over the past four years.

With three team victories Tuesday, the host nation snatched 13 of the 24 gold at the Peking University Gymnasium.


China`s Chen Gang (right) returns duirng the men`s team class 6-8 table tennis gold medal match against Slovakia`s Miroslav Jambor and Richard Csejtey. Chen and his teammate Ye Chaoqun won 3-0. [China Daily]

China comfortably leads the total medal tally with 22 medals: 13 gold, six silver and three bronze. France lags behind in second place with four gold, three silver and four bronze.

Tuesday morning, the Chinese women won their last team event, defeating Germany 3-1.

China`s men followed suit, shutting out Slovakia 3-0 in class 6-8 and demolishing Spain 3-0 in class 9-10.

But South Korea managed to upset the host, taking the men`s team class 4-5 title, 3-1. Chinese pair Zhang Yan and Guo Xingyuan lost three singles games; and managed a win only in the doubles.

In a sweeping victory, Chinese female wheelchair paddlers took all six gold on offer at the Games: Four individual titles and two team crowns.

China`s women`s class 5 gold medalist Ren Guixiang remained undefeated in the women`s team class 4-5 with teammate Gu Gai. The Chinese pair beat Germany, 3-1 after Ren defeated Monik Silora-Weinmann and Andrea Zimmerer of Germany in the singles final before pairing with Gu to finish off the German duo.

However, Gu, a silver medalist in her category, lost to Zimmerer in a decisive fifth game, 13-15.

Jordan defeated Serbia 3-1 for the bronze.

With Feng Panfeng`s gold in the men`s class 3, the Chinese wheelchair squad contributed a whopping seven gold to the sport, up four in the same category from Athens.

After the competition, Lin Xiubing, head coach of the wheelchair table tennis team, revealed the secret to the team`s impressive progress.

"We enjoy maybe the best training conditions in the world," Lin told The Paralympian, adding the government has done a lot to improve training conditions for athletes with a disability since Athens.

"They always train with able-bodied professional paddlers, and that`s why they can show such remarkable improvements. We hardly find this in any other country."

German coach Christian Bode wished European countries would do the same.

"We need to improve training conditions ... Perhaps some exchange programs with China as well, to learn from their training methods."

Date:2008-9-17 10:29:00     
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