China table tennis coach blasts work-shy rivals

China's table tennis head coach blasted his rivals on Monday, claiming a stronger work ethic will guarantee his players remain top of the international pile.

Shi Zhihao saw his women's team reach the Olympic final with a 3-0 win over South Korea and will tackle Japan in the title match.

China have already captured the men's and women's singles gold in London while their men face Germany later Monday in the semi-finals of the team event.

"China players work for three or four hours every day. Europeans only work for one, or one and a half," said Shi. "China works harder than anyone else."

His opinion was backed up by Monday's events as women's singles champion Li Xiaoxia enjoyed a 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 win over Seok Ha-Jung in the opening game against South Korea.

"I have not thought about the gold medal, and I'm not thinking about winning a second one," she said.

Seok, a top-20 player, was actually born in China and learned her table tennis alongside Li in Liaoning province.

Li's win was followed by two crushing performances.

Ding Ning, the world champion who lost the singles final to Li, clinched an 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 win against Kim Kyung-Ah.

Ding and Guo Yue, the only Chinese player remaining from the team which won the gold medal at the Beijing Games four years ago, beat Seok and Dang Ye-Seo 11-6, 11-5, 11-8, with a minimum of fuss.


 

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