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Liu Wins Men's Table Tennis

Associated Press Writer
Thursday, August 1, 1996 7:25 pm EDT

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Olympic table tennis tournament was a sweep for China.

Liu Guoling took the final gold medal Thursday, winning the men's singles crown over teammate Wang Tao 21-12, 22-24, 21-19, 15-21, 21-5.

While its athletes have struggled in other sports during these games, China owned table tennis, winning all four gold medals and three of the silvers.

At the world championships last year, it took all seven events including team and mixed doubles.

With both players going for winners on nearly every shot, the men's final featured short rallies. It wasn't until the fifth game that Liu took command.

He raced to a 12-1 lead, pouncing on the ball quickly to send winners across the net or force Wang errors.

Then Wang seemed to lose interest in the game, just putting the ball in play, and Liu finished with a 9-4 run to claim the gold medal.

Liu, who was runnerup in the world singles championships in 1995, is just 21 and this was his first major individual title.

Wang, 28, has been noted as a doubles specialists, helping to win the world title in mixed doubles three times and the men's doubles twice. He won the gold medal in men's doubles in 1992 and took the silver medal in that event here earlier this week.

In the bronze medal match, Joerg Rosskopf of Germany defeated Petr Korbel of the Czech Republic 21-17, 19-21, 21-18, 21-19. Rosskopf was the only non-Asian medalist in table tennis.

The defending singles gold medalist, Jan-Ove Waldner of Sweden, was eliminated before the quarterfinals.

© Copyright 1996 The Associated Press

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