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Kiwis pleased with table tennis preparations

21 July 2002

New Zealand coach Simeon Cairns is hopeful of good strategy and favourable draws.

Table tennis

New Zealand rate Li Chunli as their best medal hope

The Kiwi table tennis team arrived at the Commonwealth Games Village on Thursday 18 July following success at the Oceania Championships in Fiji earlier this month, where their men’s team won gold and the women’s team came second to Australia.

“We have been building up for the Commonwealth Games for some time now. The women attended a training camp in China for 10 days in April, where they trained for five hours a day and played matches against Vietnam and Guang Xi Province, the hometown of the LI sisters,” said Cairns.

“But every country has had good training,” he added. “Those who have the best strategies and get a good draw will get through.”

The New Zealand men’s team consists of Andrew Hubbard, Peter Jackson, Shane Laugesen and Aaron Li, and the women’s team is Tracey Mcauchlan, Laura-Lee Smith and sisters Karen Li and Li Chunli.

Cairns says Chunli, once ranked as high as 19, now 45, in the world, is their best medal chance at these Games.

“Aaron Li and Peter Jackson are also a good prospect for a medal in the doubles,” he added.

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