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China tops table tennis tally in Paralympics
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08:45, September 17, 2008

Chinese table tennis players added three gold medals here on Monday, consolidating China's top position at the Paralympic table tennis tally.

After sweeping all the four gold medals in the Olympics last month, Chinese showed their dominance in the sport by sweeping 13 table tennis golds in the Paralympics, far ahead of runner-up France which had five golds.

China's team wave during the awarding ceremony of Men's Team Class 9-10 of table tennis event in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 16, 2008. China defeated Spain 3-0 and won the gold medal.(Xinhua Photo)

"We have fulfilled our Paralympic goal. The results are even better than what we expected," Chinese coach Lin Xiubing said.

Four years agoin Athens, Chinese Paralympians pocketed seven titles out of 28 at stake.

To this tournament, China sent 26 players, including 14 Paralympic debutants who contributed nine golds.

Chinese teammates celebrate their victory in the final of Women's Team Class 4-5 of table tennis event in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 16, 2008. China defeated Germany 3-1 in the final and won the gold medal of the event. (Xinhua Photo)

In women's class 1-3, Liu Jing and Li Qian combined to bag three gold medals in individual and team events. These three golds along with the ones in men's individual class 3 and team class 6-8 are China's first-ever in the Paralympics.
"I am so happy that they (Liu and Li) made it after so many years of efforts," Chinese coach for women's class 1-3, Xiong Wei, told Xinhua.

"The Paralympics proved we are good in all different classes," he said.

A 19-year-old player in men's class 10, Ma Lin, is no doubt another rising star. His powerful shots gave little chance to his opponents.

China's Ma Lin returns the ball to Sweden's Fredrik Andersson during a 1/4 final of men's team (Class 9-10) at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games table tennis event on Sept. 14, 2008. The Chinese team won 3-0 and advanced to the semifinal. (Xinhua Photo)

The 2006 world champion claimed his first Paralympic gold in men's class 9-10 team event, and a silver in the individual match.
"I am really happy for the result, and I really want to thank our supporters," he said after winning a team title.

"For these young players, the only advantage they have is fighting spirit," said Chinese coach Li Zhendong. "When you believe in yourself, the match will become much easier."

Another new contender, Chen Gang from men's class 8, is also a key member for men's class 6-8 team victory.

Chen Gang of China jubilates in the final of Men's Team Class 6-8 of table tennis event in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 16, 2008. China defeated Slovakia 3-0 in the final and won the gold medal of the event. (Xinhua Photo)

Chen plays for class 8, which is less impaired than than class 6 and 7. However, he didn't really have much advantage for his artificial left leg gave him lots of troubles in moving.
In the most difficult quarterfinal competition against Germany, all spectators witnessed Chen rally to edge the Germans in the last minute.

In the first game against Jochen Wollmert, the gold medal winner from class 7 lost the first point. His teammate Ye Chaoqun, a Paralympic debutant too, leveled 1-1 after beating German Daniel Arnold.

In the crucial doubles, Chen made five diving saves to get the ball back on table, a move rarely seen in disabled people's competitions.

His effort paid off. Chen and Ye outlasted a German duo in the doubles. However, when Ye lost to Wollmert in the four game, all pressure was on Chen, especially when he was down with a big margin in the deciding set.

"It was his willpower and determination that overcame the Germans," Chinese captain for class 6-8, Qin Xiaojun, said.

Feng Panfeng in men's class 3 also brought home a gold in his first Paralympics. "I never thought about the gold medal before the competition," he said after winning the individual event.

In other competitions, Chinese women's teams swept all the three gold medals in the team events, while men's class 3 and class 4-5 sides picked a bronze and a silver.

Source: Xinhua

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