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It's just after 8.30 in the morning in a small park in the Jingshan area, and the mood around the open-air table-tennis tables is relaxed.

Old boys in vests and baggy shorts are puffing on cigarettes as they play, casually smashing balls at each other in a Gumpesque manner while others clean their bats, drink fruit juice and wait their turn in the shade of the leafy trees.

My plan was to chat to the locals about the Chinese obsession with ping-pong.

Within a few minutes, however, it becomes clear that I'm expected to join in with the matches.

Continue reading "Final humiliation in the park"


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Welcome to our Olympics and Paralympics blog, which we are launching as the countdown to the 2008 Games begins in earnest.

Wednesday marks exactly 100 days to go to the 8 August opening ceremony (though oddly enough the football tournament starts two days earlier).

Writers from across BBC Sport, Radio 5Live, BBC London and BBC News will bring you the inside track on all 28 Olympic sports, as well as the Games themselves - which are set to be truly fascinating, if controversial, given China's hosting of them.

One of the uncertainties at the moment from a British perspective is whether the Games will turn out to be a triumph - or a failure. My view is...

Continue reading "Welcome to our new Olympics blog"



Keep reading this blog for all the latest about the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing and also for the inside track on the long build-up to London 2012.

News and reports will be on the BBC Sport website but our experts will bring you behind the scenes access to the world's biggest sporting event right here.

All of our bloggers are keen to hear your views and we want people to engage and comment on what we have to say.

To find out more about all our contributors, check our about their author pages.

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Continue reading "About the Olympics blog"


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