June 5, 2001

ITTF Pro-Tour China Open

The China Open will be held on Hainan Island from June 6 through June 9. Liu Guoliang and Kong Linghui will miss this tournament. The national team members attending are:

Men: Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, Liu Guozheng (assuming he has recovered from his injury), Yan Sen, Shan Mingjie, Wang Hao, Hou Yingchao and Zhang Chao.

Women: Wang Nan, Li Ju, Lin Ling, Li Nan, Lin Ling, Niu Jianfeng, Bai Yan, Guo Yan and Zhang Yining.

Sweden will be represented by Waldner, Karlsson and Hakansson. The Belgian Charleroi Club members Samsonov, Primorac and Saive, as well as Schalger from Austria will not play in this event.

World Club Championship

The 3rd World Club Championship was completed on June 3, in Macao, China. The Belgian Charleroi club won the finals over Shandong Luneng 3-1. In the first match Zhang Yong lost to Samsonov 0-2, then Liu Guozheng beat Primorac 2-0 in the second. Guo Keli lost to Saive 1-2 in the key 3rd match. In the 4th, Liu Guozheng played against Samsonov. Shortly after the start of the match, Liu had to default due to a muscle pull, giving the Belgian club a 3-1 victory.

Heilongjiang played Germany's Ochsenhausen club for the 3rd place, and won 3-1. Peter Franz defaulted the 3rd match because of an injury. Worth noting is that Chuan Chi-Yuan playing for the German, had a great tournament, beating China's Tan Ruiwu in the 3rd place tie.

(Chung's Notes: According to a report from a BBS site, Liu Guozheng suffered his injury during his match against Primorac in the finals. Liu, up 1-0, was behind Primorac 17-20 in the second game, but came back to win 26-24 in a very exciting game. Right after that game, he went to his coach Yin Shao to have his shoulder/arm sparyed with pain-killer. Apparently he has pulled a muscle at the end of that game.)

International Challenge Series

The International Challeng Series between China and the rest of the world will resume on June 23. These are the planned matches:

June 23: Waldner vs China's Xu Hui, in Inner Mongolia. Lin Ling will play Li Jia Wei in the women's match. (Xu Hui is a young Chinese penholder-looper from Liaoning province.)

July 7: Ma Lin vs Persson, in Jiangsu province. Li Nan vs Svensson.

July 14: Qin Zhijian vs Kim Taek Soo, and Sun Jin vs Japan's An Konishi, in Tianjin.

July 21: Wang Liqin vs Korbel, and Zhang Yining vs Korea's Kim Moo Kyo, in Xinjiang province.

August 4: Ma Lin vs J-M Saive, and Wang Nan vs Korea's Ryu Ji Hye in Heilongjiang province.

Waldner in Beijing

On May 31, Waldner came to Beijing to help promote China's bid to host the 2008 Olympics. He would appear in a promotional video, as a tourist sightseeing in Beijing. Although he had 3 days to tour the city, he said that he was not sure he would be a good actor. He also said that he would do his best to show his understanding of the city and his feelings for it.

In 1981, Waldner came to Beijing for the first time. In the last 20 years, he has come here two or three times every year. The longest time he spent was 6 weeks. "I love Beijing. I am happy every time I come here. This has the largest number of top table-tennis players in the world. In the last twenty years, I have seen the buildings getting taller, and the city gradually changing. I am more familiar with Beijing than Paris, even though Paris is in Europe", Waldner said.

Reporters told Waldner that young people in China like him very much, because he has stayed young during the last twenty years. Waldner was happy to hear that. "I hope to attend the 2008 Olympics here", he said.

Waldner's video tour would include all the famous parts of the city. The director of the video is the world-famous Zhang Yimou. The video will be shown on July 13 in Moscow, in front of the Olympic commitee.

(Chung's Notes: Zhang Yimou is probably the most famous director in China. His movies include "Ju Dou", one of my favorites, and "Raise The Red Lantern", both starring Gong Li.)

Women's Invitation Circuit in Taiwan

A women's invitational circuit tour, with 3 stops at Hsinchu, Kaoshiung and Taipei respectively, was held in Taiwan last week. The 4 players invited were Wang Nan, Li Ju, Chen Jing and Jin Sun Hong. Those were the 4 semifinalists at the Sydney Olympics. Chen Jing initaited the tour and found sponsors to fund it. Based on results from the 3 stops, Wang Nan was the grand champion, with Li Ju second. Wang won US$13,000 in prize money, Li won $9,000, Chen won $6,000 and Jin won $5,000, making this one of the richest women's tournaments in history.

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