Persson defeated as China sweeps table tennis medals

Swedish veteran Jörgen Persson was unable to prevent China from claiming a clean sweep in the men's singles table tennis on Saturday. Persson lost in straight sets to Wang Liqin while Ma Lin beat compatriot Wang Hao to claim gold.

Wang, the world number four, ended 42-year-old Persson’s vain search for an Olympic medal in straight sets in the bronze medal playoff 13-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-9.

Persson was the last opponent left against the Chinese Wall, and ensures the host nation takes all three medals in the men’s singles.

World number two Ma Lin beat compatriot and world number one Wang Hao 4-1 to win the gold later on Saturday.

The win also means China have nabbed eight from eight possible medals in this tournament, the first time that a nation has captured all medals on offer since the sport was introduced at the 1988 Olympics.

The women also took a clean sweep in the singles competition, while China also won the men’s and women’s team events.

But the defeat was heartbreak for Persson, the world champion in 1991, who has been trying to win a medal of any colour in the sport for six Olympics.

The affable Persson playing at probably his last Olympics before bowing out of the sport at international level, also finished fourth in Sydney.

The win hands Wang, 30, his fourth Olympic medal, after winning gold in the team event in Beijing, bronze in Athens in the singles, and gold in doubles in Sydney.