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Wang Liqin Claims Olympic Table Tennis Bronze
    2008-08-23 20:30:08     Xinhua

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, 30, suffered an upset after succumbing to 2nd-ranked Ma Lin 4-2 in the morning. Wang has viewed the Beijing tournament as a perfect opportunity to make his Olympic dream come true.

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

Wang won the bronze medal contest 13-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-9, extinguishing Persson's hope to stop the mighty Chinese from finishing one-two-three in Beijing.

The six-time Olympian, gunning for a medal in the tournament, 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.

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

Persson staged a spirited challenge against Wang Hao in a tense semifinal, losing 1-4. The 42-year old Swiss won wide-spread respect from other paddlers and the audience for his tenacity and fighting spirit.

The Swede has vowed to break the Chinese wall which he described as "the Great Wall".

"I can't make it now, but I'll try to make it tonight, and It's a hard wall to break," Persson said. Two Chinese, two Koreans and one Swede have claimed the men's singles title in Olympic history.

 
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