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Yang favors Chinese Wang, Ma for table tennis gold
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Former Olympic champion Yang Young Ja on Thursday played down a strong challenge of defending champion Ryu Seung Min and favored world's 1-2 ranked Chinese Wang Hao and Ma Lin to win the men's singles table tennis gold medal in Beijing.

"I think the final winner could be Wang Hao or Ma Lin," said Yang, who partnered with Hyun Jung Hwa to claim the women's doubles gold medal at home in Seoul 20 years ago when table tennis entered the Olympic Games as a competitive sport for the first time in the history.

"The Chinese are better players," she added, while declining to agree with the prediction that her compatriot Ryu will defend his title in Beijing.

Commenting on the fresh draw made Thursday afternoon for the Olympic team events, Yang rated good draws for both men's and women's team of South Korea table tennis.

"They have been handed good draws," she said. "I think they could be sure to make the semifinals. No Problem!"

Ryu, 26, was the surprising winner in Athens after beating Wang Hao 4-2 in the Olympic men's singles final four years ago. The duo will revive their rivalry here in both the men's team and singles events of the Olympic table tennis tournament, which to start here on Wednesday and to run through to Aug. 23.

(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2008)

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