By Henry Chen
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games did not allow defending champions Zhang Jike and Li Xiaoxia to continue their reign in the singles event. Both reached the finals but lost to their compatriots, eventually settling for the silver. Zhang Jike lost to Ma Long while Li Xiaoxia was defeated by Ding Ning.
After the competition, both have raised the issue on retirement. Zhang Jike first announced that he was already prepared to retire. But after awhile, the 28-year old champion changed his mind. He would then want to continue his athletic career as long as he possibly can.
Meanwhile, Li Xiaoxia was a bit more serious about putting an end to her career.
Both Zhang and Li also have stayed away from the competition lately. They did not participate in this season’s Chinese Super League.
So what could be the real state of their athletic careers as of now and in the future?
In a recent event held in Shanghai, both Grand Slam champions from Shandong Luneng answered such question.
For Zhang Jike, he assured that he has no plans of entering the entertainment business. In fact, he is already getting back in shape for the upcoming competitions.
“Actually, I have said this a lot of times in previous years that whether I will retire or not, I will definitely not enter the entertainment business. My job is to be an athlete.” Zhang Jike said.
Zhang Jike is scheduled to participate in this year’s Austria and Sweden Open.
Meanwhile, Li Xiaoxia revealed that she will be having a physical examination which will determine if she can still continue with her career. She said that she will have the answer before the Winter Training of the Chinese National Team next year.
Li Xiaoxia considers this year to be a period of recovery. If the result is positive, Li Xiaoxia would like to continue to play. However, if the result is bad, then she might need to consider her future.