09 Jan 2017

Back to business, for the Chinese National Team, Wednesday 4th January signalled the commencement of the winter training programme as new Olympic cycle begins; the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may seem in the distant future but Liu Guoliang, the head coach, will leave nothing to chance.

One player aiming to make his presence felt is Zhang Jike; the winner of all the major titles the sport has to offer, has indicated that he aims to compete in more tournaments this year and aims to be back in shape for the ITTF World Tour Qatar Open scheduled for mid-February.

by Henry Chen

Following a rigorous schedule in 2016, including major world competitions, World Tour tournaments and the Chinese Super League, most of the members of the Chinese team are exhausted or are recovering from injury.

Therefore, the initial stage of the winter training is for adjustment and recovery.

“The players are too tired. I will let them adjust their physical conditions”, Liu Guoliang.

One of the players investing in recovery is Zhang Jike. It was four months ago in September 2016 when we last saw him in action, taking part in the ITTF SheSays China Open held in Chengdu. He finished the competition as one of the semi-finalists, losing to Ma Long in a full seven-game contest (6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5).

“It has been a long time that I haven’t been in a systematic training; I need a certain amount of time and a level of difficulty to train my technical skills”, Zhang Jike

People missed Zhang Jike in the arena in the latter part of 2016. A foot injury forced the 28 year old champion to withdraw from the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals; he is addressing the injury in the winter training.

“There are muscle reactions. The recovery is slow. It is impossible to restore it in just a matter of days. I need to co-operate with the doctor’s treatment; but I still have time”, Zhang Jike.

Zhang Jike hopes for a quick recovery in order to participate in the ITTF World Tour Qatar Open scheduled on February in Doha.

“Zhang Jike is basically recovering well; he can follow the team’s training”, Liu Guoliang.

A detailed policy in place; high on the list of priorities is the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf to be held in May. Liu Guoliang announced that there will be a delay in releasing their official line-up for the competition; it is anticipated that the selection will be finalised in March.

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