Table tennis: Syed in form for place at Atlanta

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Table tennis

Matthew Syed yesterday stepped up his challenge for a place in Britain's Atlanta Olympic team. In the opening groups at the European Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manchester, he proved too strong for Taric Hodzic, the Bosnian No 1 who has lived in Paris for the last two years. Syed triumphed 22- 10, 21-8, 21-10.

Later in the evening, the England No 1 from Chesterfield had the chance to lift his profile higher when he took on Josef Braun of the Czech Republic.

Alison Broe, the England No 3, made an excellent start to her campaign by defeating the Belgian No 1, Martine Hubert, 21-15, 21-19, 20-22, 21- 15 after a lapse of concentration in the third game.

Lisa Lomas, ranked one place higher, started her attempt to win a place in Atlanta by coming through a tight struggle with Yugoslavia's Stanislava Stanic. The match lasted an hour before Lomas took the deciding game 21- 16.