TABLE TENNIS: Clean sweep by China

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The Independent Online

Kong Linghui rounded off the host country's stunning clean sweep at the World Championships in Tianjin, China, on Sunday, with a 3-2 defeat of his compatriot, Liu Guoliang, in the men's final.

Kong's first world singles title put China's men firmly on top of the table-tennis world again, joining the all-conquering female team that cruised to victory in the doubles yesterday, having won the singles and team events.

Kong, 19, a member of the men's team which ended Sweden's six-year reign as champions, fought back from 2-1 down. Seeded No 10, he overwhelmed Liu in the final game with a barrage of ferocious forehand and backhand smashes.

Kong triumphed 17-21, 21-16, 15-21, 21-14, 21-10, although neither player captured the brilliant form of earlier rounds - particularly the 11th seed Liu, who had beaten the world No 2, Wang Tao, in the semi-finals.

The Chinese, whose men's team have been in decline since 1989, last achieved a similar whitewash of the seven events at the 1981 World Championships, when the current men's coach, Cai Zhenhua, was a member of the squad.

China's top two female players, Deng Yaping and Qiao Hong, had earlier added a second world doubles title to their 1992 Olympic gold medal by beating the defending champions, Liu Wei and Qiao Yunping, 21-19 21-17 17-21 21-19.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 32