by Henry Chen
A new Olympic cycle, Ma Long hopes to continue his success for the next four years.
“I hope that I will be able to try my best to compete”, Ma Long
Seen as the most intimidating male player in the sport, Ma Long definitely still possesses the power and capacity to win further competitions. He is the top player in the latest World ranking. However, there is a warning: the next four years may be more brutal.
“Because the whole world now thinks that winning against me can give them pride, so I can personally say that I know the next battles will certainly be much more difficult than the last four years”, Ma Long
Head coach Liu Guoliang also foresees possible difficulties that his core players will be facing in the succeeding years.
“If they want to adhere, then it will be very difficult to do it until the end. I think that it is only through developing their loopholes in their technical skills will they be able to continue to tap their potential; only through continuous progress will they be able to reach the top”, Liu Guoliang
Not selected for the Men’s Singles event at the London Olympic Games, Ma Long was quick to respond at the start of the Rio Olympic cycle. He won the Liebherr 2012 Men’s World Cup in Liverpool, England.
Success in team events but the win in the English city was his first individual world title. Later at the Qoros 2015 World Championships he won the Men’s Singles title and laid the gremlins of his previous four exploits to rest.
In 2007 in Zagreb, he experienced defeat in round four at the hands of Joo Saehyuk; a defeat which earned him the unwanted distinction of being the only Chinese player at the tournament to lose to a foreign adversary in either the Men’s Singles or Women’s Singles events. In the three ensuing World Championships, on each occasion he was beaten by compatriot Wang Hao in the penultimate round.
One year after his success in Suzhou, at his first attempt, on Thursday 11th August, Ma Long secured the much coveted Olympic Men’s Singles gold medal; it meant he owned all the major titles the sport has to offer.
Difficult or not, Ma Long has showed everyone an admirable degree of passion to compete. It will be an exciting journey for both Ma Long and all the fans of table tennis.