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Guide to table tennis at the Olympics

Updated: Wednesday, 27 Jun 2012 17:43

Wang Hao of China
Wang Hao of China


COMPETITION DATES
28 July to 8 August.

STAR NAMES
Much focus will be on Wang Hao and Zhang Jike's attempts to complete a Grand Slam, earned by winning gold in the World Championships, World Cup and Olympics. To join legendary names such as Jan-Ove Waldner, Liu Guoliang and Kong Linghui, Hao would have to go one better than in Beijing and Athens having claimed silver on both occasions. Jike, meanwhile, is aiming to become the fastest player to achieve the feat.

GREATEST OLYMPIAN
Zhang Yining: Excluding a two-month period in 2008, she was ranked number one in the world between 2003 and 2009, and is one of three players to have scooped four table tennis Olympic gold medals. Yining gains the edge over Deng Yaping, however, due to her overall dominance in the sport.

BIGGEST FLOP
The story of the men's singles in Seoul was not the winner but instead the five top seeds - including favourite Jiang Jialiang and Waldner - who failed to reach the semi-finals. The home fans were not complaining as South Korean pair Yu Nam-gyu and Kim Gi-taek eventually competed in the final, with the former coming out on top.

DID YOU KNOW?
There may not be a song - a la Euro 96 - but table tennis is coming home this summer. Indeed, what is now the biggest participation sport in the world originated in the UK, where it was played by upper-class British families as a form of after-dinner entertainment in the 19th Century.

FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE GAMES
1988

Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
Full Table

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