Wang Hao is new World Champion
H.I.S. 2009 World Table Tennis Championships, Yokohama, JPN, Apr 28 - May 5
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
In September 2004 at the Volkswagen Open China, in the northern Chinese city of Changchun, the banner read “Wang Hao, we are proud of you”; the reference was to the fact that one month earlier he had suffered agonies, losing to Korea’s Ryu Seung Min in the Men’s Singles final at the Athens Olympic Games.
Four years later at the Beijing Olympics, the silver medal was again his lot but on Tuesday 5th May 2009, the best man became the groom.
In four straight games, in the final of the Men’s Singles event at the H.I.S. World Championships in the Japanese city of Yokohama, Wang Hao was crowned World champion.
He beat the defending champion and colleague, Wang Liqin, 11-9, 13-11, 11-5, 11-9.
In the Zone
Wang Hao was in the zone from point one; every success was greeted with a deep throated growl and a clench of the fist to urge himself forward; with the build of a middleweight boxer, he was seeking to deliver the knock out blow with ever stroke executed from whatever wing.
In the first game, he established a 6-4 lead but Wang Liqin responded, the defending champion went ahead 9-8 bur won no more points; the next three all went to Wang Hao.
It was first blood to the man from Changchun against the man from Shanghai.
Wang Liqin stood bemused at the end of the first game, remaining at the table over 20 seconds before returning courtside to gather his thoughts.
Mentally he seemed to be affected by the situation but there was no argument with any official or adversary; however, in the early stages of the second game he was not in his usual highly focused mode.
Wang Hao raced into an 8-2 lead, Wang Liqin was being overwhelmed.
It was at that stage he demonstrated how precious it was being World champion, how dear that accolade was to his heart.
Suddenly the dial of concentration was turned to full volume; incredibly Wang Liqin recovered to level at 9-all but he never held a game point.
Wang Hao secured the game; he had won the first two games by the minimal two point margin; it was a massive psychological boost.
The champion elect was in overdrive, in top gear, he sped away with the third game, he was honing in on gold.
One game away; in the fourth game, Wang Hao established am 8-5 lead; the curtain was closing on the reign of Wang Liqin.
He called “Time Out” but it was to no immediate avail; the next two points both went to Wang Hao. He was home and dry or was he?
Not to be Denied
Wang Liqin won the next two points and then he secured success at the conclusion of a phenomenal counter topspin rally; then Wang Liqin won the next point; surely Wang Hao was not to be denied?
He was not; he won the next point, sank to his knees and roared with relief.
Wang Hao, twice winner of the Men’s World Cup had dispelled the nearly man tag.
He was World champion and one fact is certain in his native Changchun the banner can be raised aloft with great heart, high dignity and immense satisfaction. It is a banner that reflects the opinion of the whole of China and the world of table tennis.
“Wang Hao, we are proud of you.”
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