Thursday, August 21

Gao Ning deserved Better!

this is inexcusable for not having a coach during the match.... I watched the match and Gao Ning was so disappointed, when the last shot came from the opponent, he just stepped aside.

Olympics: Paddler Gao Ning crashes out, lacking coach support during match
21 August 2008 2144 hrs (SST)

SINGAPORE: It was double tragedy for Singapore's paddler Gao Ning. Not only did Gao lose his Beijing Olympic third-round match on Thursday morning, but he also broke down after the defeat, as there was no coaching assistance for him during the match.

The incident has upset Singapore Table Tennis president, Lee Bee Wah. She expressed disappointment and sadness over the team manager's decision to have four coaches prepare for the two women's quarterfinal matches later in the evening. Li Jiawei and Feng Tianwei were playing in the quarterfinals.

With five coaches in the table tennis team, that meant only one coach was available to both the men players - Gao Ning and Yang Zi.

The Singapore men's matches were played an hour apart at the Peking University Gymnasium. But Yang, who started his match an hour earlier, was stretched into seven games and overlapped Gao's match, so Gao had to play without a coach by his side.

Gao lost 0-4 to Croatia's Tan Ruiwu in just 24 minutes, 11-6, 14-12, 11-4, 11-7.

Yang won 4-3 against seventh-seeded Chuan Chih Yuan of Taiwan.

Ms Lee said someone will have to be accountable for the incident.

"Just bear in mind, this is a livelihood of our players and our players have been training very hard for the last four years and what they are waiting for is this day. I really feel disappointed. Someone will have to be accountable for this," she said.

But Ms Lee said any remedial action will have to be taken after the Olympics.

Channel NewsAsia has learnt that Gao's coach Chen Jian fell ill at the last minute and couldn't make it to the match. So Yang's coach Zu Haining was left to cover both men's matches.

Singapore sports officials in Beijing clarified that the coaches did not expect Yang's match to overrun into Gao's match. By that time, the two other coaches, Liu Guodong and Zhang Yong had already left the venue with the women players Li Jiawei and Feng Tianwei.

- CNA/ir

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