By Henry Chen
Ma Long, yesterday, thanked all his fans who took the effort and time to cheer for him in the competition. He described the support as very heart-warming.
The City Sports Centre Gymnasium in Anshan was filled with cheering fans yesterday, September 26, as Ma Long was scheduled to play in the Mixed Doubles finals with Ding Ning for the 2016 Chinese National Championships.
According to interviews, fans actually bought the tickets in advance just to ensure their seats for the competition. Luckily, the money spared for the tickets did not go to waste as the Olympic pairing secured their slot in the final round.
The Mixed Doubles event boiled down to Ma Long and Ding Ning battling against Guangdong’s Liu Shiwen and Lin Gaoyuan.
As soon as the match started, the Olympic pairing of the Beijing Team already encountered some troubles. The challengers from Guangdong were not stunned by the status of their opponents.
It was a close encounter for both pairs at the start of the competition. But, at the end of five games, victory favoured Liu Shiwen and Lin Gaoyuan. The Olympic pairing settled with silver.
After the battle, Ma Long’s coach Jiang Wenkun explained the reason why his player was defeated. He stated that the poor performance had something to do with physical fatigue. Ma Long just attended the Olympic Games and had to participate in a lot of events. There was lack of training and therefore, Ma Long committed unnecessary mistakes in the competition.
The Mixed Doubles final match was already the last battle for Ma Long in the 2016 Chinese National Championships. The Olympic Singles title holder abstained in the Men’s Doubles with Wang Chuqin.
Fan Zhendong, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling were the only members of the National Team who were still in the Singles after the round 16 yesterday. Xu Xin retired in that round.