TABLE TENNIS: Clean sweep by China

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TABLE TENNIS

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

Comments