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Chinese table tennis coach discontent with ITTF new rules

2009-12-23 17:00 BJT

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese national table tennis players show their dissatisfactions with the limit of 2012 Olympics entries set by International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Wednesday at annual year-end meeting of Chinese national table tennis team.

Coach of Chinese national table tennis, a career grand slam of three majors Liu Guoliang said at the meeting that the limit of Olymic entries set by ITTF would break Chinese players' domination in the short term but ruin the charm of the sports in the long run.

At the ITTF's executive committee meeting held during the World Junior Table Tennis Championships, a new regulation reducing the 2012 London Olympics singles entries from three to two players each team, was voted through 14-1. The regulation also reduces the World Championships singles, mixed doubles down to two players and two pairs respectively.

But before, China could send at least seven players to play at World Championships mixed doubles events. Some say China is good at table tennis only because of sheer numbers.

"This rule is clearly against China. I understand that ITTF wants to break the domination of Chinese players and to promote this sports in other countries, but changing rules will not settle a matter once and for all, " said Liu.

Liu said that less players in an Olympic sport means less participation and attention. Table tennis players would also not benefit from this rule as their dreams to participate and medal in International games were to be shattered.

China is an example at the highest level of the sport. According to ITTF statistics, Chinese players have won the men's World Championship 60% of the time since 1959; in the women's competition, Chinese players have won all but two of the World Championships since 1971.

In recent years, table tennis rules witnessed frequent changes made by the ITTF. The size of the ball was changed from 38mm to 40mm in 2000, the use of inorganic glue was banned and the point system was reduced from a 21 to an 11 point scoring system in 2001. Since 2008 the doubles in Olympic Games have been replaced by the team events.

"The intention of these changes is clearly to resist China's domination," said Liu.

"The change this time is bad news for countries at highest levels like China, South Korea and Germany," said Germany's table tennis superstar Timo Boll at Volkswagen Table Tennis Tournament of Championships.

"Especially to China that owns so many excellent table tennis players," Boll added.

The ITTF would discuss the vote at it's representative conference next May to decide whether to adopt the new rule.

"I hope that ITTF should ask for opinions of coaches and players before voting it through, and should take players' interests into more consideration," suggested Liu.

Editor: Su Yu | Source: Xinhua