The 33rd World Table Tennis Championships opened in Sarejevo, Yugoslavia, on Thursday, with a record entry of 58 countries competing for honours.
The 33rd World Table Tennis Championships opened in Sarejevo, Yugoslavia, on Thursday, with a record entry of 58 countries competing for honours. But once again experts were predicting the chief battle for supremacy would fall to the Chinese and the Japanese.
At the last championships in 1971, the Chinese proved supreme by carrying off four of the seven titles at stake. Both countries are without several of the star players who led their 1971 challenge.
European champions Sweden were expected to provide the stiffest opposition to the Asian teams in the men's event. Brilliant teenager Stellan Bengtsson, the reigning men's singles champion, and Kjell Johansson helped their team to fourth place in 1971 and both were in action on Thursday.
SYNOPSIS: The world's top table tennis players gathered in Sarejevo, Yugoslavia, on Thursday for the start of the thirty-third world championships. A record entry of fifty-eight teams were there to compete for honours -- but once again the experts were predicting that the chief contenders in the battle for supremacy would be the Chinese and Japanese.
Yugoslav Premier Bijedic watched as Vice President Roto Duconjic, representing President Tito, declared the championships open. Ahead lay ten days of individual, doubles and team events.
First came the team events. Sweden represented by Johansson on the left, led the European challenge to break Asian domination. They swept a Korean team aside five-nil to stay unbeaten during the first day of the Swaythling Cup -- the men's team trophy.
Japanese champion Todeo Takashims against Jacques Secretin of France. The Japanese also remained unbeaten in the early rounds. In the last championship they finished runners up to the Chinese in the Swaythling Cup.
In the women's team event, the Corbillion Cup, the Chinese -- in action here against the West Germans -- were one of three teams making the early running.
Japan, the holders, were also in contention. Here's Ozeki of Japan on her way to victory over Rudnova of the Soviet Union -- a match which the Japanese team won three-nil.
The English team notched up a three-nil win over the Austrians. But they were later to lose to the Soviet Union and to Japan.
Heu Shao Fa against da Costa as the Chinese team beat the Indonesians five-nil in the Men's Team event.
Reigning World Single's Champion Stellan Bengtsson in action as Sweden beat Indian five-nil.