The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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China bag first medal

Paris: China won the first of what could be a clutch of gold medals with Ma Lin and Wang Nan’s victory in the mixed doubles at the table tennis world championships here on Friday.

The duo beat compatriots Liu Guozheng and Bai Yang 4-3 in front of a sold-out Bercy arena.

“It wasn’t easy today,” was how Ma Lin put it.

Earlier, world number one Zhang Yining led a Chinese sweepthrough to the women’s singles quarter finals.

The other Chinese women to make it are Li Ju, Guo Ye and Wang Nan and Niu Jianfeng. Also making it to the last eight are Croatia’s Tamara Boros and Japan’s Ai Fukuhara.

Meanwhile, the two players from Yemen and Saudi Arabia who refused to take on an Israeli at the world championships have been banned for the rest of the year.

Hani al-Hammadi from Yemen and Nabeel al-Magahwi were suspended after their boycott was the subject of an official protest to the sport’s ruling body, the ITTF, by the Israeli delegation.

Gay Elensky, 19, was due to play a men’s singles qualifier on Monday against Al-Hammadi but was handed the match when the Yemeni failed to turn up.

On Tuesday, Elensky was to meet Al-Magahwi but again was handed victory without having to raise his bat.

Yet, Al-Hammadi and Al-Magahwi did manage to play each other.

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