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Olympic Champions Omitted but China Still Favourites
Zhang Yining, the respective Womens Singles gold medallists at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games has been named in the Chinese team for the Liebherr World Team Championships to be held in the Russian capital city of Moscow from Sunday 23rd to Sunday 30th May 2010.
Yet, following the draw for the top three divisions in the plush surroundings of the Petrovsky Palace in Moscow on Thursday 29th April 2010; China is the clear favourite to retain the titles, won in 2008 in the city of Guangzhou, at the Evergrande Real Estate World Team Championships.
Current World no.1, Ma Long; reigning World champion, Wang Hao plus three times Men's Singles World champion, Wang Liqin spearhead the Chinese Men's Team, with rising stars Xu Xin and Zhang Jike completing the line up.
It is a mixture of youth and experience and it is somewhat similar in the Chinese Women's Team where youth leads the way.
Liu Shiwen, the current World no.1 and only 18 years old, leads the cast with 27 year old Guo Yan adding the voice of experience alongside Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia. They contested the Women's Singles final at the 2007 Liebherr World Championships in Zagreb, the former emerging victorious. Ding Ning, 19 years old and the World Junior champion in 2005, completes the line up.
Play takes place in two stages; the first phase involves teams being drawn into four groups on a league basis with the top three teams progressing to play for places 1-12 on a progressive knock-out basis and the next three for places 13-14.
The policy applies to the Second and Third Divisions with the draw for the Fourth Division to be made at a later date.
In the Men's Championship Division, China confronts France (Emmanuel Lebesson, Christophe Legout, Adrien Mattenet, Romain Lorentz, Simon Gauzy) in their opening match, whilst in the Women's Team event the opponents for China are Italy (Tatyana Steshnko, Nikoleta Stefanova, Wenling Tan Monfaredini, Wang Yu, Debora vivarelli).
Championship Division - Women
Group A: China, Austria, Poland, Italy, Croatia, England
Group B: Singapore, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Czech R., U.A.A.
Group C: Korea, Hong Kong, Hungary, France, Ukraine, DPR Korea
Group D: Japan, Romania, Chinese Taipei, Belarus, Russia, Slovak R.
Division Two - Women
Group E: Turkey, Malaysia, India, Israel, Denmark, Portugal
Group F: Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Egypt, Venezuela, Indonesia
Group G: Thailand, Sweden, Canada, Bulgaria, Colombia, Moldova
Group H: Australia, Greece, Slovenia, Brazil, New Zealand, Estonia
Division Three - Women
Group I: Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Macao, Montenegro, Latvia, Pakistan
Group J: Switzerland, Argentina, Congo Brazzaville, Armenia, Scotland, Iran
Group K: Mexico, Peru, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dominican R., Norway, Sri Lanka
Group L: Puerto Rico, Uzbekistan, Guernsey, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, South Africa
08. August 137
– but the sailors praise the new boats
07. August 114
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo