China dominate table tennis competition

August 20, 2016
Usain Bolt poses with the Jamaican flag after his 200m win on Thursday evening.

As expected China dominated competition in table tennis at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Ma Long and Ding Ning took the men's and women's singles gold medals and return to lead their teams to victory in their respective team events. However, Nigerian Quandri Aruna, Brazilian Hugo Calderano and Kim Song I of North Korea won the hearts of the fans with a string of upsets in singles.

The athletic Nigerian right handed topspin attacker upset world number seven Chuang-Chin Yuan of Taipei in four straight games. Then he ousted Timo Boll of Germany, world number 13 4-2 to advance to the quarter-final. Aruna, the 2014 World Player of the Year and ranked currently at 40, however was ousted by eventual champion Ma.

Aruna was inspired and helped by the presence of Segun Toriola. The 41-year-old dean of African table tennis was playing in his seventh Olympics, joining Zoran Primorac of Croatia, super Swede Jorgen Persson and Jean-Michael Saive. In addition, Toriola gave Aruna tactical advice.

Calderano, the 2014 former Youth Olympic Games runner-up, is ranked by the International Table Tennis Federation at 54. Despite that, he bundled out Swede Par Gerrell, world number 32, and Hong Kong's Tang Peng, ranked at 15, to play his way to the fourth round. He lost there to eventual bronze medal winner Jun Mizutani of Japan.

In the women's individual event, Kim's defensive chopping sliced world number 6 Kasumi Ishikawa and number 12 Yu Menguu of Singapore to reach the semi-final. Ding knocked her out.

She returned to beat Japanese star Ai Fukuhara to capture the bronze medal.

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