Gold gives Zhang table tennis Grand Slam
Story Dated: Friday, August 3, 2012 8:3 hrs IST
London: China's Zhang Jike won the Olympic men's singles table tennis gold medal as he completed a career grand slam by defeating compatriot Wang Hao 4-1 in the final here.
Victory saw 24-year-old top seed Zhang become the first male player in history to win successive World Championship and Olympic titles.
Zhang stormed into a 3-0 lead before number two seed Wang, singles silver medallist at both the 2004 and 2008 Games, hit back in his quest for an elusive singles gold medal.
But Zhang held his nerve for an 18-16, 11-5, 11-6, 10-12, 13-11 win over the 27-year-old Wang, the 2009 world champion, in a final which confirmed China's status as table tennis's pre-eminent nation.
An elated Zhang celebrated his victory by leaping out of the court and running to the empty podium, kissing the top step on which he would soon be standing to receive his gold medal.
"I'm very excited, it's my first time at the Olympics and it has been my dream to win the gold medal since I started playing."
His latest success gave Zhang a 'grand slam' as he added Olympic gold to the World Cup and World Championship titles he won in Paris and Rotterdam respectively last year.
"I feel like I have completed a mission," he said of his treble triumph.
Zhang had words of consolation for Wang, adding: "When we are not competing we are like brothers. When we are playing a match I cannot say we are enemies. We can still play against each other and be friends."