Paris – France, May 20, 2013: WANG, ZHANG Jike (CHN) has successfully defended his World Championship title after defeating teammate WANG Hao in a pulsating match at the LIEBHERR 2013 World Table Tennis Championships in Paris, France.
ZHANG Jike, who is also the reigning Olympic Champion, came into this event under a cloud of uncertainly after erratic form in 2013 which saw him slip to World no.4. However, he showed the world that he is the man for the big occasion, beating the same man he defeated to win the 2011 title in Rotterdam, WANG Hao (CHN), 11-7,11-8,6-11,14-12,5-11,11-7 in front of 12,000 crowd at the famous Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy.
“I was just more lucky than WANG Hao today, and being younger helped as well,” said the 25 year old after winning the 84 year old St Bride Vase for the 2nd time. “I am very happy to win my 2nd World Championship title in front of such a fantastic, big crowd here in Paris.”
In 2011, ZHANG Jike ripped off his shirt when he won the World Championships, and when he became Olympic Champion in London he ran and kissed the podium. In Paris it was more of a family affair, as he ran into the stands to hug his family after clinching victory.
“This was the first time I have let my family come watch me in a big match,” said the double World Champion. “So when I won, I wanted to share the moment with them.”
29 year old Silver medalist WANG Hao stated: “I am not too disappointed losing the final. I am getting old, so I am not sure how much longer I can keep on playing, so playing in these big matches is a thrill for me.”
It was more gold for the Chinese, as Women’s singles champion LI Xiaoxia paired with GUO Yue to defend the title they won in 2011 5-11,11-5,11-7,11-5,11-7 against DING Ning and LIU Shiwen in a game which was played in an extremely high level despite the intense pressure of 15 million people watching on TV, JUST in China.
“In the first game we had many problems, we didn’t play at all well; then we found a rhythm to our play”, said LI Xiaoxia, holding the W.J Pope Trophy for the third time. “Winning today for the third time was special, so I must thank everyone who has helped me, my coaches, my colleagues, everyone.”
Equally, GUO Yue was delighted. “LI Xiaoxia helped me a great deal today, she played much better than me; we communicated well”, said GUO Yue. “I’m really happy to win and happy that all four semi-finalists in the Women’s Singles event were from China.”
These 2 golds conclude the record breaking 52nd edition of the World Table Tennis Championships, which has enjoyed the highest number of entries for an individual championships (801), highest amount of nations (127) and the widest distribution of TV for a table tennis event outside of the Olympic Games.
The focus now turns back to the 2013 ITTF World Tour, which kicks off again with the China Open on 12-16 June 2013 in Changchun, China. —- Photo by Remy Gros/ITTF
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