by Henry Chen
In addition in 2011 in Paris he had won the Liebherr Men’s World Cup. How in Dubai when all the accolades were heaped on the Zhang Jike, his colleague Ma Long who in 2012 had won the Liebherr Men’s World Cup title must have been deep in thought.
Would it ever be his turn to be crowned World champion, to be Olympic Games gold medallist and receive the appreciation of his fellow players at the Star Award gathering?
Zhang Jike has endeared himself to crowds worldwide, not only because of his outstanding ability in the arena but because he is the man who responds to the big occasion and when he succeeds he celebrates in a way that is the media man’s delight.
Any doubts about Ma Long were quelled when he won the Men’s Singles title at the Qoros 2015 World Championships; later in the year, single-minded, he succeeded at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Halmstadt before at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games securing gold.
The outcome was that Ma Long was crowned by CCTV (China National Television) the Best Male Sports Personality for 2016 in the awards night held on Sunday 15th January. It was his second nomination in such category. He is the first ever table tennis player to have won such recognition.
“2016 is a perfect year”, Ma Long
Conversely, despite four nominations, it is an award Zhang Jike has never won; between London and Rio de Janeiro, the table has turned.