Table tennis coach says sport will grow

Updated: 2013-05-23 16:39


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A failed title sweep at the just-concluded table tennis worlds tournament did not mean defeat for the ever-victorious China but hope of popularizing the sport worldwide, China's head coach said.

A beaming Liu Guoliang, leading team China to the first world tournament as head coach, said he and his team felt really relaxed at losing two of the five world titles in Paris last week. "We have passed through the stage when simply sweep means victory," he said on arrival in Beijing on Wednesday. "Instead, we are doing something to narrow the gap between China and other countries."

China won the championship and runner-up places in the men's singles, women's singles and doubles, while losing the men's doubles final game to Chinese Taipei, and struck out in the semi-final of the mixed doubles game.

Liu denied match-fixing accusations, doubting Chinese players intentionally lost to foreign teams to make way for an all-prosperous situation all over the world. He said they did not focus on the two disciplines by sending young and inexperienced players, as the two are not Olympic disciplines anymore, since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

According to Liu, however, the most surprising "gift" from team China to the table tennis world is not title chances but opportunities to train with top Chinese players. China is training foreign players together with their own members, by pairing a foreign player with a first-string player in doubles.