Beijing Olympics: Ma Lin Crowned – Sweden’s Persson Cannot Spoil China’s Party
Saturday, August 23, 2008
China’s MA Lin is Olympic table tennis champion in the Men’s Singles event. MA overcame his compatriot WANG Hao in five games 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9. It was the first very big title for the 28 year old Chinese. MA has already won four times the ITTF World Cup, but never gold at World Championships or Olympic Games in Singles.
After this Olympic Games in Beijing, MA Lin will have a completely new reputation. Instead of the one who loses the big matches, he is newly the most successful male Olympic table tennis player in history. He is the only one with three gold medals winning the Doubles in Athens as well as the Singles and Team event in Beijing.
Like ZHANG Yining yesterday after the Women’s final, MA Lin could not hide the tears of joy when all the pressure was gone. He is the third Chinese Olympic champion in the Men’s Singles after LIU Guoliang (1996) and KONG Linghui (2000). The title for MA is well deserved because he had to face both of his compatriots WANG Liqin as well as WANG Hao on the way to gold.
Wang Hao Loses again an Olympic Final
World number one WANG Hao is still waiting for a big title in the singles event. The 24 year old already lost the final four years ago to at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens. The youngest of the three Chinese table tennis dominators may get other chances in his career.
Flash Quotes from MA Lin and WANG Hao
MA Lin (CHN):
- “My tears encompass too many things; mainly gratitude. All these years, my coach, my managers, have given me so much support. Since not participating at the Sydney Olympic Games; then losing in the second round at the Athens Games, every step I have taken since then has been a hard one.”
- “I was full of regret after not winning the Gold medal at the Zagreb World Championships last year. CAI Zinhua (CHN) (vice director of general administration of sport in China), LIU Guoliang (CHN, coach) consoled me until the early hours on the morning. They want me to recover quickly and hoped that I would be a real man 2008. I did it today.”
- on how he was mentally changed after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games:” I have continued to change. I used to be less mentally strict. But after coaching from my team managers, I have grown. They have guided me to be a stronger person, to forget menial thoughts, and to enjoy the game.”
WANG Hao (CHN):
- “I played okay today. I didn’t do well at some crucial point. I was not resolute today.
- on the fourth game loss: “I became a little impatient when I led 6-3, and played carelessly and inconsistently.”
- on the comparison between this silver medal and his Athens Olympics Silver medal: “It’s different form four years ago. I wasn’t nervous today because I was playing against my teammate.”
Wang Liqin’s Saturday with One Defeat and One Victory
For triple world champion WANG Liqin the last day of the table tennis competitions in the venue of the Peking University Gymnasium started with a deception. The world number five lost in the semi-final this morning against compatriot MA Lin. WANG then recovered for the bronze medal match against Sweden’s veteran Jörgen PERSSON.
The match started equal and PERSSON missed several chances to take the lead and put some pressure on WANG. The longer the match lasted, the stronger WANG Liqin played. Eventually WANG won 4-0. PERSSON for his part suffered the same fate like his compatriot Jan-Ove WALDNER four years ago. PERSSONS’s friend was also in the penultimate round but failed to win a medal for Sweden.
Flash Quotes from WANG Liqin and Jörgen PERSSON
WANG Liqin (CHN)
- “I mainly won because I was in a good mental state. After losing in the semi-final match, I put all my efforts into fighting for a Bronze medal.”
- “My first goal before I entered the Olympic Games was to win against all the foreign players. In the opening game, PERSSON (SWE) played very well. He slowly fought his way into the semi-finals. He was fast today. At the start, I could not open up and play. But in the second, third and fourth games, I played better.”
- “Although I have not entered the finals this time, I do not regret anything. I believe that I have given it my all.”
- “My results come from my hard work. Also, my name carries the word “Qin”, which means hard working in Chinese. My parents have always great hopes for me. They have taught me to work hard.”
Jörgen PERSSON (SWE)
- “The first game was very important. It was a key game. After WANG Liqin (CHN) won it, he could relax and then he could play better.”
- on requiring medical treatment at the start of the fourth game: “I had this problem with my left leg. I had to take some spray to make it (my muscle tissues) soft. The muscles were tight together. We were having a lot of rallies with at wide angles; I had to stretch a lot, so I had pain.”
- on how competing the Bronze medal match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games differ from the Sydney 2000 games: “This time I felt better. After Sydney, I was very disappointed. But I prepared better this time. I tried everything.”
ITTF Press Release
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