by Henry Chen
A lack of responsibility was the reason stated by Kong Linghui when the decision was made; notably she was not present at the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, a tournament for which she was eligible and had an outstanding record.
She had won the Women’s Singles title on three occasions and the Women’s Doubles once when partnering colleague Ding Ning to success in 2009 in Macao, the player with whom she was due to join forces in Qatar. Undoubtedly not competing in the prestigious end of year event dug deep.
“Such period was very painful; even thought about retirement. I admit my mistakes and asked the team to give me another chance. I would like to continue to fight for my country in the Tokyo Olympic Games”, Liu Shiwen
Absent from the international scene but not from high level competitive play; during her suspension she led Anxin to success in the Chinese Women’s Super League; the support received from her team mates was undoubtedly greatly appreciated.
“I’m feeling well right now but I wasn’t able to train for about half a month. Now that I am back, I will immediately invest in training”, Liu Shiwen
One wonders, is the recent experience one which may be the injection she needs; in both 2013 in Paris and 2015 in Suzhou, she was the runner up in the Women’s Singles event at the World Championships.
“Young players improve fast nowadays so not doing anything is certainly not acceptable; this year’s goal is to impact the World Championships. I hope to achieve a breakthrough in this first year of a new Olympic cycle”, Liu Shiwen