Ma leads home clean sweep for China in table tennis
China's Ma Lin defeated compatriot and world number one Wang Hao to take Olympic gold in men's table tennis Saturday as the host nation made a clean sweep of the medals on offer, the dpa reported. World number two Ma dropped just one set on his way to victory, 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11- 9 in 47 minutes, in the final at the PKU Gymnasium. Ma needed six sets to get past three-time world champion Wang Liqin in his semi-final while Wang overcame Swedish veteran Jorgen Persson. Wang Liqin made up for the disappointment by beating Persson in straight sets in the bronze medal match, 13-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-9. The loss means the 42-year-old Persson, world champion in 1991 and fourth also at Sydney 2000, will now most likely finish his playing career without an Olympic medal. Ma, 28, celebrated his 4-1 win over Wang by doing a lap of honour with the Chinese flag. As expected, China has completely dominated the table tennis events in Beijing, taking all four gold medals on offer as well as two silver and two bronze. However, some have expressed concern that China's joy is damaging the sport in general. "It's not good for our sport when one count is so dominant," said Canadian Adham Sharara, president of the ruling ITTF. China has agreed to invite young players from Europe as well as coaches to try and close the gap. "The Chinese have said they will open their doors after the Olympics," said Sharara.