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World Team Cup: China Clear Favourites

The teams from China start as clear favourites to capture the titles on offer, as the World Team Cup returns to calendar of the International Table Tennis Federation in Magdeburg, Germany; the event starts on Friday 5th September and concludes on Sunday 7th September 2007.

It is the first time the tournament has been held since August 1995, when the competition was held in Atlanta, USA as a test event prior to the 1996 Olympic Games.

On that occasion, China finished in fifth place in the Menís Team event and in top spot in the counterpart female event. Liu Guoliang and Kong Linghui were both members of the male team twelve years ago and both are present in Magdeburg in 2007 but not as players.

Liu Guoliang, who one year later won the Menís Singles title at the Atlanta Olympic Games, is the Chinese menís coach whilst Kong Linghui is one of the coaches working with the womenís team.

The winners of the menís team title in 1995 were the Koreans and a member of that successful team is also present in Magdeburg. Yoo Nam Kyu is the coach for his countryís menís team.

In both the Menís and Womenís Team events the Chinese line up is prodigious.

Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin, the top three players on the current ITTF Menís World Ranking list head the male challenge with Chen Qi, ranked eight, in support, whilst for the women the team is even more daunting.

The quartet in Magdeburg is formed by the top four World ranked stars: Zhang Yining, Guo Yue, Wang Nan and Li Xiaoxia.

The major test for the superb Chinese in the Menís Team event may well come from the Koreans Oh Sang Eun, Ryu Seung Min, Joo Se Hyuk and Lee Jung Sam or with home support the Germans, Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Christian SŁss and Bastian Steger.

Meanwhile, in the womenís event Hong Kong with Tie Yana, Lau Sui Fei, Lin Ling and Zhang Rui on duty may cause problems.

Initially in both menís and womenís events teams are drawn into two groups with four teams in each group; the teams finishing in first and second places progress to the semi-finals.

The fixtures are organised on the same basis as will be used in the Olympic Games in 2008.

Three players in a team, four singles matches with one doubles being played after the second singles contest; no player is allowed to compete in more than two matches.

Menís Team Event:
Group A: China, Russia, Hungary, France
Group B: Korea, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria

Womenís Team Event
Group A: China, Hungary, Japan, Germany
Group B: Hong Kong, Korea, Belarus, Austria.

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