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Chinese Wang Liqin wins table tennis bronze
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21:18, August 23, 2008

China's triple world champion Wang Liqin won a bronze medal in the Olympic men's singles table tennis tournament here Saturday, beating Swedish veteran Jorgen Persson 4-0.

Wang Liqin, 30, suffered an upset after succumbing to 2nd-ranked fellow Chinese Ma Lin 4-2 in the morning. He has viewed the Beijiing tourament as a perfert opportunity to make his Olympic dream come true.

The 2001, 2005 and 2007 world singles champion fought to get qualifyed for the Summer Games. Wang Hao, a losing finalist to South Koran Ryu Seung-min in the Athens Olympics, and Ma Lin, twice world runner-up to Wang Liqin, have secured China's automatic berths to the Beijing Games.

Wang Liqin won the bronze medal contest 13-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-9, extinguishing Persson's hope to stop the mighty Chinese from sweeping the medals in Beijing.

"There is something wrong with my muscles due to stretches in long rallies and smashes," said Persson, who asked for treatment for his left leg during the match.

"I played well but it's hard to break the Chinese wall, I could not get some easy points especially when coming over from behind," said the six-time Olympian.

Persson, who was guning for a medal in the touranment, snatched down 5th-ranked Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and Croatia's Zoran Primorac to make do with top four, the second-best result he achieved after finishing fourth at the Sydney 2000 Games.

"The Chinese players are very good to be in top, especially in big tournaments. But we have to fight, which I hope will encourage more young players," the 42-year-old said. "I'll continue to play if I have motivations."

Wang Liqin missed the 2000 Olympic singles competition, but won the doubles with Yan Sen, his first Olympic title. In Athens, his singles campaign ended in the hands of Wang Hao, who later suffered a meltdown in the championship final against South Korean Ryu.

In Beijing, Persson staged a spirited challenge against Wang Hao in a tense semifinal, losing 4-1. The Swedish veteran won wide-spread respect from other paddlers and the audience for his tenacity and fighting spirit.

"Wang Liqin has brought out his best this evening. I never expected such a percent ending, even in my dreams," Chinse coach Liu Guoliang said.

"Persson has been fighting for years to realize his Olympic dream. It's a miracle for paddlers of his age to come this far. He has set a good example for us and we all should learn from him," Liu said.

Source: Xinhua

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