By Henry Chen
Speculations on the retirement of Zhang Jike broke out after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The reason for this was the words of the Grand Slam champion himself during an online interaction with his fans.
“I am already prepared to retire,” said Zhang Jike.
However, there seem to be a change of heart from the 2016 Olympic silver medalist. The 28-year old player said in a recent live broadcast that there will be no retirement happening soon.
“I will not retire. I will prepare to battle for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,” Zhang Jike clarified.
Supporting such statement, the Chinese Team’s head coach Liu Guoliang revealed in an interview after the Rio Olympic Games that Zhang Jike has thoughts of competing until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
At the same time, photo of Zhang Jike also circulated through out the Chinese media saying that he is back in training. It further solidified the idea of Zhang Jike continuing to fight for the Chinese Team.
But there could be two challenges Zhang Jike needs to address if he wishes to continue his service for the Chinese Team until the next Olympic Games four years from now in Tokyo.
First is his waist injury. Back in 2015, Zhang Jike suffered some serious effects from such old injury. It affected his attendance in the Chinese Super League and more importantly his training and competitive spirit. According to Liu Guoliang, if Zhang Jike will be able to have an effective recovery from such injury, he has a possibility to adhere for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Second thing that he needs to do is to maintain his driving force. The head coach once said that the issue on retirement totally depends on how Zhang Jike will see it.
“As for Zhang Jike, it depends on him. If he feels that playing is interesting then he has a very big chance, unless he feels weary and tired,” Liu Guoliang said.
The next international competition for Zhang Jike is the 2016 ITTF World Tour China Open, scheduled on September 14th to 18th in Chengdu.