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China's Zhang Jike crowned Olympic champion


07:53, August 03, 2012

Zhang Jike of China holds Chinese national flag after winning in men's table tennis singles final match against Wang Hao of China, at London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, on August 2, 2012. Zhang Jike of China won gold medal. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

LONDON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Jike leapt over the barriers, ran to the podium, knelt down and kissed the top. That might be the most emotional moment for the newly crowned Olympic champion on Thursday.

For the rest of the time, Zhang appeared calm and reserved. There were no rapturous celebrations or passionate talks, let alone the signature T-shirt ripping and wild shouting as he did after winning the World Cup Champion in Rotterdam last year.

He hugged his teammate Wang Hao, the silver medalist, after the match and invited Wang to hold the national flag together for pictures.

His well-measured and low-key behavior could probably be interpreted as a kind gesture to his teammate Wang, who won three silver medals in table tennis men's singles in three Olympic Games in a row.

Zhang beat Wang in the all-Chinese final 18-16, 11-5, 11-6, 10-12 and 13-11, winning the gold medal.

The victory puts Zhang, the reigning World Champion and World Cup Champion in 2011, in the same league of such legendary players as his coach Liu Guoliang and Sweden's Jan-Ove Waldner. It also ended Wang's last chance to charge for an Olympic gold medal.

"A game between teammates is quite cruel. Table tennis is cruel. It's not like swimming or gymnastics, which allows athletes to tie. You have to win or lose," Zhang said.

"As a matter of fact, I am not in the mood for celebration now. We still have team event, which is our most important target. I must switch my focus on the team event as soon as possible," Zhang said.

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