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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Table Tennis Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Singapore secure team title
Li Jia Wei
Li Jia Wei got Singapore off to a good start

Singapore lived up to their hotshot reputation by clinching the first table tennis gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday.

The number one seeds brushed aside surprise finalists Australia 3-0 to claim the women's team title and their first Commonwealth Games gold medal in 40 years.

Singapore, led by three Chinese-born players - world number nine Li Jia Wei and Olympic semi-finallists Jing Jun Hong and Zhang Xue Ling - were in awesome form.

They dropped just two games before Zhang sealed the victory with her 3-1 (11-7 11-6 6-11 11-4) win over Tammy Gough.

"We were very happy," said Singapore's Jing Jun Hong.

open quote
We definitely did our best and hopefully we'll get them next time
end quote
Tammy Gough
Australia

"Before the match we thought it would be very difficult because Australia are very strong and they beat Canada in the semi-finals."

The result leaves Australia with silver, while beaten semi-finalists Canada and New Zealand share bronze because there is no play-off for third place.

It had started badly for underdogs when their opening contender Lay Jian Fang was blown away 3-0 (11-2 11-6 11-5) by Li .

Jing continued the rout by beating Australia's main medal hope Miao Miao 3-1 (10-12 11-6 11-5 11-8).

It was left to Gough to attempt to turn around Australia's fortunes, but Zhang got off to a commanding start, taking the first two sets with ease.

Gough produced a tenacious fightback to grab the third set, but Zhang soon got back in her rhythm to land a momentous victory for the tiny Asian nation

"It's a shame we couldn't take it one step further," Gough said afterwards.

"But Singapore were the number one seeds for the tournament, we definitely did our best and hopefully we'll get them next time."

Historic win

It was the second time the Asian side had played Australia, having also beaten them in their round robin group.

Since their first appearance at the Games in 1962, Singapore have collected just nine medals - including four golds, with all but one of those coming in weightlifting.

The men's team final is due to be played at 1800 with favourites England taking 2001 Commonwealth champions Nigeria in the final.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the first round of the mixed and men's doubles got underway.

England's Andrew Baggaley and Georgina Walker survived an early scare before finally taking their expected place in the last 32.

The duo surprisingly lost the first game 11-9 to Pakistan's Ghazala Rohi and AsimQureshi, prior to then taking control and sweeping the next three games, 11-811-6 11-8.


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