Commonwealth Games 2002
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Table Tennis Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Strong powers through qualifying
Northern Ireland table tennis hopeful Daryl Strong
Strong is bidding for a third Commonwealth title
Northern Ireland's Daryl Strong swept through his group to clinch a place in the first round proper of the Commonwealth Games men's table tennis singles.

Only the winners of the four-man groups qualified for the main event, which starts on Thursday afternoon.

Strong, a two-times Commonwealth champion and a former European champion, will now face Canada's Faazil Kassam in the last 64.

After cruising past Andrew Gita of Uganda and Lesotho's Maboee Nthejane without dropping a game, Strong beat Chris Marsh of Jamaica 7-11 11-5 11-7 11-5 to go through.

Early scare

Andrew Dennison joined his countryman Strong in the first round, despite a scare in his opening match when he almost blew a two-game lead.

The two-time Irish champion recovered to beat George Televantos of Cyprus and won his next two matches without dropping a game to set up a match with Australia's Brett Clarke.

Niall Cameron of Scotland will not be joining the Ulster duo in the main event after losing his opening Group B match to Asim Qureshi of Pakistan, who went on win the group and qualify.

In a good day for the Irish, Michelle McGreevy made it a trio of triumphs as she too won all three of her Group B matches in the women's qualifying competition.

Home disappointment

But there was disappointment for England's Georgina Walker, Claire Bentley of Scotland and Natasha Lake from Wales as they all went out of the tournament.

Walker won her first Group A game against Uganda's Monica Kisakye in convincing fashion but then lost in three games to Edem Offiong of Nigeria.

It was closer against Malaysia's Lee Fong Beh but Walker eventually lost after blowing six match points.

Bentley lost all three of her Group C matches, winning just one game in the process, while Lake's five-game defeat to eventual Group E winner Nandita Saha of India proved decisive.

Belfast's Jonathan Cowan and Jing Yi Gao are through to the last 32 of the Mixed Doubles after defeating Stephen Jenkins and Siwan Davies of Wales 9-1111-7 11-5 11-3 9-11 11-7 11-5 11-3.

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