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China's Li Xiaoxia wins table tennis gold


08:08, August 02, 2012

Li Xiaoxia of China celebrates a point during the gold medal match of women's singles table tennis against teammate Ding Ning at London 2012 Olympic Games, London, Britain, Aug. 1, 2012.(Xinhua/Shen Bohan)

By Sportswriter Chang Ailing

LONDON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Li Xiaoxia defeated world number one Ding Ning in an all-Chinese final on Wednesday, winning the Olympic women's table tennis singles gold medal.

Li, seeded No. 2, triumphed 11-8, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4.

It was China's 21st Olympic table tennis gold since the game was introduced to the 1988 Seoul Games.

Ding was deducted three points, two for service and one for using towel at the wrong time.

"Today I met great obstacles in the match, not only from the opponent, but also from the umpire," Ding said after the final.

Ding, apparently disrupted by the penalties, was in tears during the competition when she got the third penalty, a red card, from the Italian umpire Paola Bongelli in the fourth set. The red card immediately followed the second service penalty when Ding was 2-5 down.

"I used the towel to calm myself down after getting the service penalty. Then the umpire might think I used the towel at the wrong time and gave me a red card," Ding said.

"As players, we need to adjust to the changing situations. But Xiaoxia and I are about at the same level. Such penalties affected my performance and made it difficult for me to control the situation," she said.

Ding is a left-handed attacker with a unique squatting service that her opponents find difficulty to adjust to. This type of service has got Ding penalties several times at London 2012.

"I've been using such services over the past two years and didn't get any penalty, not even a warning. I don't understand why suddenly the umpires (at London 2012) started to give me penalties and the penalties became increasingly strict.

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