Source: Xinhua

04-29-2009 08:41

YOKOHAMA, Japan, April 28 (Xinhua) -- The world table tennis championships opened Tuesday night in Yokohama with one and only mystery waiting to be solved: Will all-mighty Chinese take it easy on their rivals.

Players compete in the men's singles qualification during the World Table Tennis Championships in Yokohama, Japan, on April 28, 2009. The sport event was opened here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Xu Jiajun)
Players compete in the men's singles qualification during the 
World Table Tennis Championships in Yokohama, Japan, on April 28,
2009. The sport event was opened here on Tuesday. 
(Xinhua/Xu Jiajun)

China, which clean-swept gold medals in the 2008 Olympic Games and the last two championships, pulled three versatile players off the doubles events, deliberately making the Yokohama championships more open.

Wang Liqin, Ma Lin and Zhang Yining, who have involved in nine doubles titles in the world championships, won't enter the doubles competitions and will concentrate on the singles events instead.

Cai Zhenhua, newly elected Chinese table tennis chief, said China has the responsibility to make table tennis a more popular sport.

"We have reached the top of table tennis in the 2008 Olympic Games, and now we should share the International Table Tennis Federation's responsibility to make the game more popular and spectacular," he said.

Huang Biao, head of the Chinese team, admitted that the absence of three doubles experts will "open a door" for young Chinese players as well as their rivals.

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