11 Jan 2017

Watched closely by Stéphane Molliens, who alongside colleagues Fabien Lamirault and Jean-François Ducay, won gold in Men’s Team Class 1-2 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, in the town of La Chapelle-Saint-Ursin located in central France, on Saturday 3rd December, Forrest Gump was upstaged.

Celebrated in the 1994 Academy Award winning film for being able to play non-stop against the wall for hours on end; Yannick Jeanneau and Emmanuel Crétier put actor Tom Hanks into the shadows.

by Henry Chen

The player, who will celebrate her 28th birthday on Monday 16th January describes her life in table tennis as colourful; her journey in the sport starting when only seven years old.

She admitted that the road has not always been smooth, there have been ups and downs; for 22 years she has followed the discipline of training and competition, receiving support from fellow players, coaches and officials.

In her Weibo post updated on Sunday 1st January, the player who won every major title the sport has to offer is grateful for the support received during the long journey.

“I’m lucky that all of you have been with me as I realised my dreams. I’m thankful for everyone, leaders, coach, friends and fans that helped me. It is your teaching and encouragement which give me all the things that I have now. I still hope for everyone’s support in my future”, Li Xiaoxia.

One thing is certain for Li Xiaoxia as of now; she has officially bid farewell to the career and the team she has lived with for more than two decades.

“Even though it’s really sad, I still would like to say goodbye to everyone. Goodbye to my dearest table tennis; goodbye to my supreme Chinese National Team! Parting is always sad but I will still be concerned about table tennis; I’ll be engaged in the sport and work with everybody to maintain the highest honour of the national sport”, Li Xiaoxia

Earlier, Kong Linghui confirmed that Li Xiaoxia had applied for retirement and the application had been approved by the Chinese Sports General Administration. A ceremony will be held soon for Li Xiaoxia.

“I hope that her future career can go further”, Kong Linghui

Editor’s Note:

Notably the international career of Li Xiaoxia is very much the history of the World Junior Championships; it was in Santiago in 2003, in the first edition of the now well established tournament, that we first really set our eyes on Li Xiaoxia.

Alongside Cao Zhen, Li Qian and Peng Luyang, she won Girls’ Team gold, before partnering Zeng Cem to Mixed Doubles success and Li Qian to the top prize in the Girls’ Doubles event. However, in the Girls’ Singles event, she had to settle for bronze; she was beaten by Li Qian in the semi-final.

Li Qian is not the player by the same name who moved to play for Poland.

After the tournament Li Xiaoxia said “This is only junior, I want to be World champion”, she succeeded.

China News li xiaoxia