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Niu Jianfeng sails into 2nd stage at Olympic qualifiers
Updated: 2004-04-10 10:38

World number three Niu Jianfeng moved one step closer to the Athens Olympic Games after collecting two wins in the group competitions of the Asian qualifying tournament on Friday.

Niu, champion of 2003 ITTF Pro Tour Finals, showed her supremacy over Mouma Das of India and Huang I-Hua from Chinese Taipei for two straight victories of 4-0. She needs one more triumph in the second stage to ensure her Athens trip.

The 23-year-old Niu said, "I just played my normal form today. I need to prepare for more tough fights against stronger rivals inthe next stage. I have never played with DPR Korean players. I expect more competitive encounters."

In other three groups, Kim Yun Mi and Kim Hyang Mi from DPR Korea and Lau Sui Fei from Hong Kong, China stayed on top after they claimed two wins.

A total of 13 women's singles paddlers, who were divided into four groups, competed in the Asian qualifying event as 7 will be granted berths to the Olympic Games.

Japanese sweet-heart Fukuhara Ai was good enough with her two wins to move into next round though she suffered an upset 0-4 (7-11, 8-11, 10-12, 8-11) defeat by Kim Hyang Kim, member of DPR Korean women's team champion in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

Das, Zhang Xueling of Singapore and Yoon Ji Hye of South Korea also entered the next round as the second finishers in each group.

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