skip to content
04 Aug 2008
IOC News

Table tennis: Hurricane Wang hoping for revenge

If there is one sport China expects to dominate beyond question, it is of course table tennis, and if “Hurricane” Wang Hao reaches the men’s singles final, there is one opponent above all he will be hoping to meet. Wang will be trying to make amends for what happened four years ago in Athens when South Korea’s Ryu Seung-Min surprisingly outclassed him in the final.

Clean sweep
Since the sport was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1988, China’s men and women have won all but four gold medals, and in Athens they had been aiming for a third consecutive clean sweep after Sydney and Atlanta. Ryu, now ranked eighth in the world, will be among Wang’s opponents again in Beijing and a re-match is very much on the cards.

World No 1
However, Wang has won the Asian Games, the World Cup and the Asian Championship on his way to the world No 1 spot, and he has not lost to his South Korean rival in major tournaments since Athens. Wang’s team-mate and four-times World Cup winner Ma Lin will also be in contention, while in the women’s events it will be a major surprise if 26-year-old Zhang Yining, world No 1 for five years, does not win singles and team gold.

European champion
If China have anything to fear from a country other than South Korea, it could possibly be Germany in the shape of Timo Boll, the European men’s champion and world No 6 who has recently recovered from a knee injury. Boll is widely regarded in Europe as the successor to the legendary Swede Jan-Ove Waldner, who played in every Olympic competition until Athens, winning gold in 1992.

“Evergreen tree”
Nicknamed Lao Wa, or evergreen tree, and as popular in China as he is in his home country, Waldner is now the proud proprietor of the only Swedish restaurant in Beijing! He was also the first of three players to win a “Grand Slam” of Olympic, World Championship and World Cup singles titles. The other two happen to be Liu Guoliang, now head coach of the Chinese men’s team, and Kong Linghui, coach of their women’s squad.

Multimedia Gallery

 Discover Table tennis
 Learn more on Beijing 2008
Tags IOC News
back to top