Koreans deny China table tennis sweep

The Chinese Olympic bandwagon hit a bump in the road yesterday as South Korean Ryu Seung-Min denied China a third straight sweep of Olympic table tennis gold with a triumph in the men’s singles final. Ryu, the world No. 3, outlasted fourth-ranked Wang Hao in a gripping match, emerging with an 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9 victory. His win prevented China from repeating its feat of Atlanta and Sydney of winning all the golds in both men’s and women’s singles and doubles. Ryu was elated to become the second South Korean ever to win an Olympic table tennis singles gold, but said the pressure on Wang contributed to the Chinese player’s defeat. «I have to admit that, even though I won today, Wang Hao is still the better player,» Ryu said. «He was under a lot more pressure than me.» The defeat, followed by America’s victory in the softball final against Australia, erased China’s lead in the gold medal tally early yesterday, leaving it tied with the United States on 22 apiece. China still nursed gold medal hopes in women’s wrestling, where Xu Wang shocked five-time world champion Kyoko Hamaguchi in the 72kg freestyle semifinals to book a spot in one of four finals on the evening’s program. And while Australia’s softball women were no match for a US side that claimed its third straight Olympic title, Australia struck gold in track cycling in the men’s team pursuit. Not all of the adjustments to the medal standings came on the playing fields on Monday, as the International Olympic Committee confirmed that Russian Irina Korzhanenko had been stripped of her shot-put gold for a drugs offence. The 14th doping case among Olympians and would-be Olympians to be confirmed here since July 30 seemed almost like business as usual. (AFP)

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