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Sports stars play charity games for tsunami relief
Updated: 2005-01-16 08:38

More than 2,000 fans packed the Beijing Students' Gymnasium here on Saturday for a charity match by China's table tennis and badminton top players as well as some of the former stars to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami.

The first ever match of this kind in China after the December 26 tragedy pledged RMB 3,276,576 yuan from all proceeds, which will be donated through the Red Cross Society of China in efforts to help victims of the tidal waves triggered by an earthquake, killing more than 150,000 people in 13 nations across South and Southeast Asia.

"It's a wonderful demonstration of Chinese table tennis and badminton players' sense of social responsibility, as well as it being the greatest match in the world full of humour and wit which saw male and female shuttlers played on one pitch and Olympic mix-double champions versus women's doubles champions," said He Zhenliang, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The match picked table tennis Olympic gold medalist Zhang Yining against "grand slam" winner Wang Nan, world champion Wang Liqin facing world cup title holder Ma Lin, Ma/Chen Qi versus KongLinghui/Wang Hao, and former world champions Chen Xinhua and Guo Yuehua.

Playing alongside the table tennis reigning and former world number ones are Chinese badminton all-stars Zhang Ning, Lin Dan, Xia Xuanze, Xie Xingfang, Zhang Jun/Gao Ling and Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen.

Cai Zhenhua, the CEO of China's table tennis and badminton, andLi Yongbo, the deputy director of the Administrative Center for Table Tennis and Badminton, have each given the charity match organisers their autographed shirt to raise cash, which were auctioned at 5,000 and 3,600 yuans respectively.

"On behalf of the Chinese players, our hearts and condolences go out to all who have suffered, and hope that our contribution insome small way will help ease the terrible burden and warm them with love and care," said Wang Liqin in representing Chinese paddlers.

The table tennis and badminton teams of China react quickly to support relief efforts, donating 16,000 and 20,000 yuans respectively shortly after the disaster.

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