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Chinese women take TT doubles title

August 20, 2004 20:17 IST
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China's Wang Nan took her third Olympic gold medal on Friday, teaming up with Zhang Yining to beat Lee Eun-sil and Seok Eun-mi of South Korea 4-0 in the women's table tennis doubles.

China won all the golds and most of the silvers at the last two Olympics in Sydney and Atlanta and were expected to dominate the Athens tournament so much the rules were changed so two teams from the same country could not meet in the final.

Wang and Zhang were forced to beat compatriots Guo Yue and Niu Jianfeng in the semi-finals and Guo and Yue took the bronze medal in a close match over the South Korean pair of Kim Bok-rae and Kim Kyung-ah 4-3.

"I was quite disappointed to have lost in the singles. But my coach and I spoke and we said it was more important to win against a team that wasn't Chinese," Wang said referring to her shock quarter-final loss on Thursday.

Wang and Zhang dominated from the start, allowing their opponents little chance to get into the match, winning 11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6.

"We were well prepared, but the Chinese had techniques we were not ready for," said runner-up Seok.

When asked what it is like to be one of China's most recognised sports figures, Wang said: "It's not just me, but every member of our national table tennis team is treated like a superstar in a country where our sport enjoys massive support."

The Chinese men also set themselves up for a gold medal, with Chen Qi and Ma Lin beating the Danish pair of Michael Maze and Finn Tugwell 4-2 in the semi-finals.

They will face the Hong Kong duo of Ko Lai Chak and Li Ching, who downed Russia's Dmitri Mazunov and Alexei Smirnov 4-2 in the second semi-final.

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