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Table tennis heroes

Desmond Douglas - England   Desmond Douglas - England

England's most well known player, Douglas lifted the English title 11 times during the seventies and eighties and, in a sport dominated by China, once ranked as high as seventh in the world. Now in his mid-40s, Douglas still ranked eighth in England in 2001.

Johnny Huang - Canada   Johnny Huang - Canada

Currently ranked in the top 30 in the world, Canada's Johnny Huang will be amongst the favourites to take the men's gold at the inaugural Commonwealth Games table tennis competition.

A former US Open champion, Huang has dominated his national scene for many years. Huang was defeated in the Sydney Olympics by the eventual gold medallist, Linghui Kong from China.

Matthew Syed - England   Matthew Syed - England

Syed is the 2001 Commonwealth champion, a tournament that has been held annually since 1971. He retained his title in front of a partisan Indian crowd defeating the home nation's number one player, Chetan Baboor, in a match regarded as one of the most exciting Commonwealth finals ever.

Undoubtedly a pre-tournament tip for Manchester 2002, Syed hopes to take advantage of strong English support.

Li Jia Wei - Singapore   Li Jia Wei - Singapore

Born in China, Li Jia Wei is a world top 20 ranked player. Considered a hot favourite for Manchester 2002, Li Jia Wei defended her 2000 Commonwealth title successfully in 2001.

Also a keen participant in both women's and mixed doubles, Li Jia Wei will be looking for a clutch of gold medals at the XVII Commonwealth Games.

Jing Jun Hong - Singapore   Jing Jun Hong - Singapore

A semi-finalist at the Sydney Olympic Games, Jin Jung Hong is a former Commonwealth champion and a three times winner of Singapore's sportswoman of the year award.

Also a player ranked in the world's top 20, Jin Jun Hong will be one of Manchester 2002's big table tennis draws.

Geng Lijuan - Canada   Geng Lijuan - Canada

Lijuan Geng might be considered old by her competitors, but she prefers to be known as someone with great experience. If she competes at Manchester 2002, the former world number one will be aged 39 but, still ranked in the world's top 40, Lijuan Geng is a very dangerous opponent for anyone.

Whilst playing for the Chinese Lijuan Geng won four world championship golds but in 1989 she switched allegiance to Canada with great success. "It felt so good to win," says Geng. "It was more exciting to win as a Canadian."

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