Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beijing 2008: Table Tennis

It's amazing how a sport we play for fun in the garage, usually while pissed off our heads, is so huge in China. The top four men in the ITTF world rankings and top five women are Chinese. With the 7,557 strong home crowd behind them, it will be a brave man to bet against a Chinese clean sweep of the individual and team events. Spare a thought for Ma Long who is ranked 4th in the world and has to watch from the stands, while Eric "The Eel" equivalents get their asses folded and handed neatly back to them by his illustrious team-mates. So as China hammer all-comers unmercifully, as the loony fans packed into the Peking University Gymnasium scream for blood, the billions watch proudly on TV in all corners of the host nation, and we see none of it on Channel 7...well I was going to go into the finer points of the speed drive, loop drive, flip, smash, push, block, push-block, chop, side drive, lob and drop shot, but there doesn't seem to be much point if we aren't going to see any of it. So instead here's a little something that might improve your game at home:

Australia are represented in the women by Miao Miao, Jian Fang Lay and Stephanie Sang. Miao Miao is looking to experiment with a revolutionary outfit at Beijing:

Good luck with that...

William Henzell is at $501 to win the gold and you can write your own ticket on David Zalcberg and Kyle Davis. Henzell has become a cult hero in Adelaide with regular appearances on the Triple M breakfast show. His favourite band is Iron Maiden and he supports Liverpool in the EPL. Seems like a cool guy, a handy team-mate to pull out at your next drunken garage tourny (after placing sizeable bets of course) and from his favourite training outfit, you can see that growing up in the '80's, he also dreamed of playing in the AFL one day.

But nevertheless, you'll likely see no table tennis on Channel 7. Here's what you'll be missing...

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