Wed, May 06, 2009
Sports > Table Tennis > Table Tennis Championships

As China won all, Chinese official worried about table tennis' Olympic future

2009-05-03 13:09:27 GMT2009-05-03 21:09:27 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By Sportswriter Cao Jianjie

YOKOHAMA, Japan, May 3 (Xinhua) -- China swept all the semifinal berths in the men's and women's singles events after winning a full set of mixed doubles medals at the world table tennis championships on Sunday.

Yao Zhenxu, a vice chairman of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), didn't jump to his feet in celebration. Rather, he was worried - about table tennis's future at the Olympic Games.

"If one team keeps winning all at the world championships and Olympics, table tennis' Olympic future is in danger," said Yao, who had also been the International Table Tennis Federation's technical chief since 1995.

China, which won all table tennis golds at the Beijing Olympics, saw the top four seeds - Wang Hao, Ma Lin, Ma Long and Wang Liqin reach the men's singles semifinals.

The women's semifinal spots were snapped up by Zhang Yining, Guo Yue, Li Xiaoxia, the top three seeds, and 10th-ranked Liu Shiwen.

In the early afternoon, Li Ping and Cao Zhen combined to beat national team colleagues Zhang Jike and Mu Zi 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8 to clinch the mixed doubles gold.

Despite the absence of no less than eight stars - Wang Hao, Ma Lin, Ma Long, Wang Liqin, Chen Qi, Zhang Yining, Li Xiaoxia, Guo Yue, Guo Yan, Liu Shiwen, China had dominated matters.

They sent all four semifinalists with Hao Shuai and Chang Chenchen plus Zhang Chao and Yao Yan being bronze medallists.

China booked three semifinal places in the men's doubles, with Japanese Seiya Kishikawa and Jun Mizutani making the host country proud by taking one.

The Japanese duo will take on Ma Long and Xu Xin on Monday and Hao Shuai and Zhang Jike will play an all-Chinese game against Chen Qi and Wang Hao.

Chinese Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxiao dampened Japanese enthusiasm by beating Ai Fukuhara and Sayaka Hirano in the women's doubles, setting up a semifinal clash against Hong Kong pair Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana.

The other semifinal will be South Korea's Kim Kyung Ah and ParkMi Young against China's Ding Ning and Guo Yan.

"In recent world championships or Olympics, semifinals are always more exciting than finals," said Yao, "because finals are all Chinese affairs."

"I don't like watching Chinese vs. Chinese games either," he added.

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