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Zhang Jike does the 'trick' at World TT

Last updated on: May 21, 2013 14:10 IST

Zhang Jike does the 'trick' at World TT

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China's Zhang Jike sealed a remarkable hat-trick of major titles when he beat fellow-Chinese Wang Hao 4-2 in the men's final of the World Championships at Bercy on Monday.

Zhang, who had already beaten Wang in the 2011 World Championships final and the Olympic final last year, prevailed 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 14-12, 5-11, 11-7 in a hard-fought match in Paris.

"It was a tough match," the 25-year-old Zhang told French TV Channel L'Equipe 21.

"I will try to make history. I have won all the titles already and I want to do it again," he added, confirming he is looking to take part in the 2016 Olympic Games.


Image: China's Zhang Jike holds up the trophy he won after the men's singles final at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Paris
Photographs: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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'I beat Wang Hao maybe because I am younger than him'

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It is the fifth time in a row that the men's singles title was won by a Chinese player since Austrian Werner Schlager was crowned in Paris in 2003.

Monday's showdown was the fifth time Zhang and Wang met in a major final. The former had won three of four previous encounters. His wins saw him complete the Grand Slam, having won the Olympics, World Championship and World Cup at the expense of his countryman.

After clinching victory, Zhang, threw his t-shirt to the crowd and ran to his parents to celebrate victory.

"I beat Wang Hao maybe because I am younger than him. But I don't think there is loser. Both of us were relaxed during the match," Zhang added.


Image: China's Zhang Jike (C) reacts among family members after defeating his compatriot Wang Hao in the men's singles final at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Paris
Photographs: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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Zhang began learning table tennis at the age of 12

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Jike's success is not surprising. Like other Chinese paddlers, he is blessed with strong basics and is extremely hard-working.

Zhang began learning table tennis at the age of 12. Playing in China's provincial Luneng Table Tennis Club, the Olympic champion mastered his art under the watchful eyes of Gu Qingcheng and Yin Xiao.

He made it to the second national team and won the team title in the World Youth Championships at the tender age of 14.


Image: China's Zhang Jike returns the ball during his men's singles final at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Paris
Photographs: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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A roller coaster ride

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He soon made it to the national team a year later. However, a violation cost Zhang's place in the national team and he was asked to return to his provincial team.

But coach Qingcheng and Xiao worked on the mental aspect of the youngster and made him return from depression.

Since then it's been a roller coaster ride for the 25-year-old. He beat compatriot Wang Hao for gold at the London Olympics, thereby becoming the fourth male player in the history of table tennis to achieve a career Grand slam.


Image: Zhang Jike
Photographs: Grigory Dukor/Reuters

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