by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Yang Zi gained a career best World Ranking of no.21 in January 2008; a notable achievement but arguably his greatest hour was at the New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Alongside Cai Xiaoli, Gao Ning, Ma Liang and Pang Xuejie, he was crucial to Singaporean success in the Men’s Team event, later he partnered Wang Yuegu to Mixed Doubles success before proving far too fast for Gao Ning in the Men’s Singles final.
Three gold medals in the Indian capital city, it was nearly four; partnering Gao Ning, the duo finished in runners up spot, losing to the host nation’s Sharath Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha in the final.
Men’s Singles success but arguably doubles was his forte, his deft left handed skills proved an ideal foil for right handed partners; if doubles pairings need an architect and a killer, he was the former.
“Unfortunately my neck has been degenerating and I have undergone rehabilitation for several months now but there is still no improvement, so I am left with no choice but to retire from professional table tennis”, Yang Zi
Between 2007 and 2014 he appeared in no less than 17 ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles finals. Partnering Gao Ning, he won four times and was the runner up on ten occasions; the latter often at the hands of mighty Chinese partnerships. In harness with Zhan Jian, he won once whilst on two occasions being the runner up.
Furthermore, you can add three more appearances in ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles title deciding matches. Partnering Gao Ning, the duo reached the gold medal contest on three consecutive occasions. In Macao they won in 2008 before being the runners up one year later; in 2010 in Seoul again, they were the silver medallists.
“We would like to thank Yang Zi for his contributions to Singapore. While he will not be playing for Singapore anymore, he will be contributing to Singapore by grooming the young paddlers in his parents’ table tennis academy. We would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best”, Ellen Lee PBM, President of the Singapore Table Tennis Association
Success in 2008, three years earlier in Fuzhou, Yang Zi became the first ever. After winning the Under 21 Men’s Singles events in Chinese Taipei and Japan, he secured the title at the Grand Finals in Fuzhou. It was the first time that the Under 21 Men’s Singles event had been staged at the prestigious end of year event.
A moment of history and in partnership with Gao Ning there was another seven years later. The pair won the Men’s Doubles title at the 2012 Asian Championships; the first time that Singapore’s had won the event since 1954 when Loh Heng Chew and Poon Weng Hoe had succeeded on home soil.
“While I’m disappointed that my table tennis career has come to an end but I am excited about what lies ahead; I have recently completed the ITTF coaching course and I will be joining my parents’ table tennis academy to help Singapore to groom more young talents. I am also extremely grateful to the Singapore Table Tennis Association, Sport Singapore and Singapore National Olympic Council for giving me this opportunity; I wish the Singapore team every success for the year ahead”, Yang Zi
Pivotal to Singaporean success for over a decade, on duty at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, Yang Zi will not be lost to the association; he will continue to reside in the city state where his experience and knowledge will no doubt prove invaluable.