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China assert supremacy at Jr Asian TT

July 21, 2004 20:33 IST

World champions China once again proved they are a class apart as both their boys and girls' teams blanked Korea to win the Asian Junior Table Tennis team championship in Delhi on Wednesday.

The Indian teams had to rest content with fifth place.

The Chinese boys' team, which earlier in the day defeated defending champions Taipei 3-0 in the semi-finals, dominated the final against their Korean counterparts, scoring a convincing 3-0 victory while their girls' team outplayed the Korean girls by an identical margin.

Both the Indian teams ensured that they kept their chances of a back-door entry into the World Championships in Japan alive with a fifth place finish.

According to the format of the World Championship, only the top four teams from Asia qualify. But since Japan is the host and China the defending champions the Table Tennis Federation of India is hoping that Asia would get a fifth berth. Korea and Chinese Taipei have also qualified for the championships.

In the play-offs for the fifth to eight positions, the Indian boys first defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 and then thrashed Hong Kong by an identical margin to take the fifth position.

The boys' team, led by World No 45 Arunava Ganguly never looked under pressure against any of their opponents and ensured that they hung on to the fifth position as in the last edition.

But it was not as smooth sailing for the girls, who were given a tough fight by Hong Kong in the first of the play-offs.

The eves, who had thrashed the same opponent 3-0 in the group stage, were made to sweat for every point by Hong Kong but some how managed to win the tie 3-2 and then went on to thrash Sri Lanka 3-0 to take the fifth spot.

But the day belonged to the boys from China, who not only took revenge for their last year's defeat against Taipei in the semi-finals but also registered an emphatic victory over their neighbours in what was billed as the tournament's grudge match and then went on to take the title with convincing win over Korea.

In the final's first rubber, Ma Long of China caused an upset when he defeated junior world number eight Cho Eon Rae 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10.

The defeat of their star player seemed to have a demoralising effect on the Koreans as Yeo In Ho went down 11-9, 12-10, 11-4 against world number three Zhang Jike and then Kang Dong Moon lost to Jiang Tienyi 11-2, 11-5, 11-7.

The Chinese girls' team also showed similar consistency to beat the Koreans and retain their hold over the Asian championship.

Liu Shi Wen rallied to upset junior world number eight Jee Min Hyung 4-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8 and set the tone. Ding Ning then defeated Seo Myeong Eun 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4 and Feng Yalan got the better of Choi Myeong Eun 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 to wrap up the final.

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