Thursday, September 11, 2008

Roundup: China table tennis team wins 4 Paralympic golds

Chinese won four out of five table tennis gold medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games on Wednesday.

The Paralympic table tennis tournament is divided into 10 classes depending on various disabilities. The smaller the number is, the more severe the disability is.

Chinese Liu Jing in women's class 1-2 won the first gold after defeating Italian Pamela Pezzutto 3-1.

"After winning the first set easily, I became more confident. My rival was more nervous than I was," Liu said after the match.

"Table tennis makes me a confident and strong person," she added.

In the following gold match in women's class 3, Chinese Li Qian beat Slovakian Alena Kanova 3-0.

The two golds were China's first ever in these classes.

"The Paralympics just proved that we were capable to compete in all different levels. This is a dream team," said Chinese coach Xiong Wei.

Zhou Ying in women's class 4 added a third gold for China after beating Serbian Borislava Peric 3-0.

Peric seemed content with the silver. "This is my first Paralympics, and this is big for me," the 36-year-old Serbian said. She used to play basketball, but an accident in the furniture factory where she worked deprived her of walking ability.

Yet the optimistic woman never succumbed to misfortune. "I have many good friends, my family and my boyfriend to support me, and I am going to play in the next Paralympics, and the one after the next," she said.

In women's class 5, the Chinese team had secured the gold on the previous day, after Ren Guixiang and Gu Gai defeated their semifinal opponents.

The two-time Paralympic gold medalist Ren eventually edged Gui 11-5, 11-9, 15-13.

In women's class 10, however, Chinese Fan Lei was downed by Polish Natalia Partyka 3-0.

Partyka is the only table tennis player who participated in the Beijing Olympic table tennis tourney.

"I don't feel any extra pressure to play against an Olympian," Fan said.

"I played a defensive game at the beginning, and then it became very difficult for me to adjust my tactics," she said.

Partyka is already looking to the 2012 Olympics.

"I am going to play in the European Championships in Russia, and I want to practice more, because I want to take part in the London Olympics," she said.

In Wednesday morning competitions, Chinese Zhang Xiaoling, a five-time Paralympic champion, surprisingly lost to Swedish Josefin Abrahamsson 3-2.

"I believe she threw all she had at me today," Zhang said. "My returns were good enough, but she moved even faster and took all those balls."

German Rainer Schmidt, a seven-time Paralympian, also suffered a semifinal loss to his Danish rival Peter Rosenmeier 3-2 in class 6.

Three finals slated for Thursday will be all-Chinese affairs, while Chinese Feng Panfeng, Ye Chaoqun and Chen Gang have made it to the men's class 3, 7, and 8 final respectively.

Source: Xinhua

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