Zim, China share spoils

HARARE - The inaugural Chinese Ambassador Cup Table Tennis clash between Zimbabwe and China ended in a true friendship note after the two nations settled for a share of spoils at Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College on Sunday.

Zimbabwe ruled the roost in the men’s category with local table tennis ace, Vikram Singh beating China’s last man standing Zhang Xiongfeng 3-1 in the pulsating final.

The 40-year-old Zimbabwean employed his cool-as-a-cucumber technique against Xiongfeng’s highly-aggressive approach and it immediately paid dividends as he raced to a two straight sets win.

The Chinese, however, showed glimpses of brilliance with his never-say-die attitude to pull one set back but that was as far as he could get as Singh wrapped up the match in the next set to claim gold medal on a 3-1 score line.

Earlier in the tourney, China had bagged gold in the women’s singles after Zhang Yang’s straight sets 3-0 win over Zimbabwe’s Mercy Kazembe.

And in team competitions, it was China with gold in the men’s category while Zimbabwe won gold in the women section.

Zimbabwe Table Tennis Union technical director and national team coach during the tournament Newman Gomendo, praised his youthful team for matching their much-fancied Chinese counterparts.

“It was a great show by Team Zimbabwe — our young team played very well and the tournament was well-structured and of high international standards,” Gomendo said.

“I’m happy with the results and the tournament has a huge impact on the development of table tennis as it complemented our team-building programme of talented young athletes that we work with most of the time.

“This tournament was their biggest, in term of spectator base and they were really motivated.”

The tournament was attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping, his deputy Zhao Baogang, Zimbabwe’s minister of State for Harare Miriam Chikukwa, Sports and Recreation Commission acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere, Zimbabwe Olympic Committee president Admire Masenda while Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane sent his principal director Benson Dube.

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