Giants from the mainland to give golden display

TABLE tennis fans are in for a treat when the all-conquering Chinese men and women players who swept all seven gold medals at the recent World Championships come here for exhibitions on June 26 and 27.

China's 10-strong 'golden' team includes Kong Linghui, Wang Tao, Ma Wenge, Lu Lin, Ding Song, Liu Guoliang and women players Deng Yaping, Qiao Hong, Qiao Yunping and Liu Wei.

'It's an honour for us to be able to host the Chinese team who are making their first overseas trip after the world championships,' said Tony Yue Kwok-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Table Tennis Association.

'Table tennis fans here must be very keen to watch the Chinese play because it has happened only once before that a country managed to win all seven titles at the world meet, and that was also by China in the '70s.' Kong Linghui is the newly crowned world champion after beating Liu Guoliang in a five-set men's finals.

But world number two Wang Tao is a triple gold winner in Tianjin - leading China to the team crown and also winning the doubles with Lu Lin and the mixed event with Liu Wei.

Star of the women team is undoubtedly the diminutive Deng Yaping, China's only double gold medallist at the Barcelona Olympic Games who walked off with three golds at the world tournament.

Besides picking up the team gold, Deng Yaping captured the women's singles title and partnered Qiao Hong to the doubles victory.