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Chinese Table Tennis Team's History Of Match-Fixing

Chinese Table Tennis Team's History Of Match-Fixing
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Chinese Team's head coach Liu Guoliang, along with his players Zhang Jike and Wang Hao have already clarified that there was no match-fixing that has happened in the 2012 London Olympics. However, after such issue was brought up, past news of the team staging the results of matches also resurfaced. In an article posted in Tencent Sports, China's history of match-fixing was compiled. 

Oriental Morning News. China is undoubtedly a formidable force in table tennis. Could it be just because of their comprehensive training or is it because they plan very well? 

1961 World Championships - Li Furong

Chinese table tennis' first match-fixing took place in this competition held in Beijing. In the Men's Singles finals, Li Furong consecutively lost two sets in accordance to the "plan" of conceding to Zhuang Zedong who turned out to be the champion. Zhuang Zedong and Li Furong  faced each other in the finals of the next two seasons. Li Furong was instructed again to concede to Zhuang Zedong to make the latter a three-time champion. 

Chinese table tennis legend Xu Yinsheng first disclosed the incident in a television show n year 2007. "The leaders considered Zhuang Zedong to be young and was given the championship. In so doing, he can have the chance to be a champion three-consecutive times in future competitions. In this case, the Chinese player's status will be high." the legend revealed.   

Zhuang Zedong & Li Furong vs France 1965 WTTC
video kindly shared by Mynah Bird

1981 World Championships - Cao Yanhua 

Cao Yanhua was asked to concede to Tong Ling in the Women's Singles finals. Cao Yanua had the advantage and was never beaten by Tong Ling in squad competitions. However, Cao Yanhua was considered to be a player with an attitude and at that time, she was thought not to be obedient and was problematic. So, the team decided to have Tong Ling receive the glory while Cao Yanhua had to accept the decision against her favour. 

In the two subsequent seasons, Cao Yanhua gave her best and was hailed as the champion in both competitions. When she was 23 years old, she had an early retirement. 

1987 World Championships - He Zhili 

Korean Yang Young Ja defeated the Chinese player Dai Lili in the first semifinals and that led the coaching staff of the Chinese Team to ask He Zhili to concede against Guan Jianhua, who had a higher chance to win against the Korean. However, He Zhili refused to follow the order and scored 3-0. She proved to the coaches her strength and won over the Korean in the finals, clinching the title. 

In effect, she wasn't able to qualify for the Olympics. In 1989, she moved to the Japanese Team marrying Koyama Hideyuki. She then had the name Chire Koyama. 

Chire Koyama had another revenge to the Chinese Team in the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games. Before the competition, she said to a Japanese media that she will avenge herself against the Chinese Team. True enough, she defeated Deng Yaping in the Singles finals. 

"I am happier winning the Asian Games title for Japan than the World Championships title for China. I very much love my motherland now." Chire Koyama said after the game. 

Chire Koyama Training Ai Fukuhara
video kindly shared by takkyu101

1988 Seoul Olympics - Jiao Zhimin 

Table tennis had its debut in this Olympics and winning the gold was very important. At that time, Jiao Zhimin was considered the leader of the Chinese Women's Team. But in the semifinals, she was asked to concede to Li Huifen because the latter had a bigger chance to win against a Czech player in the finals. 

However, it turned out that the Czech player did not make it to the finals after losing to Chen Jing, who was the winner in that season. Li Huifen had the silver while Jiao Zhimin got the bronze. 

After the Seoul Olympics, Jiao Zhimin retired and studied in Sweden. She then later had her family in Seoul. "I have conceded five times in my eight years of competing internationally. Therefore, I don't want to play anymore." She said. In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, she was the recipient of China's match-fixing. He Zhili conceded and gave the title to Jiao Zhimin. 

With these things happening in the past, it is quite understandable why a lot of people from the table tennis community reacted to Liu Guoliang's vague story on the London Olympic finals between Zhang Jike and Wang Hao.

The head coach has already clarified the misunderstanding and its all up to us now how are we going to accept such clarification. It happened in the past and although anything is still possible, hopefully it won't happen in the future. 

Photo source: Tencent Sports 

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