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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK

Double medal joy for Singapore

By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport Online at the Table Tennis Centre

Singapore grabbed their third table tennis gold medals of the Games after an impressive display from Duan Yong Jun and Li Jia Wei on Sunday.

Duan and Li beat Australian duo Brett Clarke and Lay Jian Fan in 9-11 11-9 11-6 11-4 to claim the mixed doubles title.

But Singapore failed to claim another gold medal on Sunday after top-seeded titleholder Li lost to 40-year-old New Zealander Li Chunli in the women's singles final.

The Kiwi, along with Peter Jackson, claimed a bronze medal which they share with other beaten semi-finalists Zhang Tai Yong and Jing Jun Hong of Singapore.

"This is the most important Games in my life"
Duan Yong Jun

Certainly it was always going to difficult for the Australian pair, who were tested to their limits by Singapore's Zhang and Jing in the semi-finals only two hours earlier.

Clarke and Lay took five sets to overcome their tricky challenger 5-11 12-10 12-10 2-11 11-9 and deny Singapore a gold and silver double in the mixed event.

Duan and Li, on the hand, had slightly less trouble against Jackson and Li, although the 3-0 scoreline did flatter some some well-contested points.

Clarke and Lay showed the fruits of their long campaign in the opening game, edging their opponents 11-9 with some impressively precise play.

But the Singaporeans soon got into their rhythm, taking the next two games to leave the Australians on the back foot.

The Asian nation stormed ahead in the fourth game and Australia could find no answer, leaving Singapore to mop up gold and bronze.

Duan was delighted with the victory, and hinted that it could be a once in a lifetime experience.

"This is the most important Games in my life," he said.

"It may be my first and last."


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