by Wade Townsend
Every year Team China has a send-off ceremony before they head to the World Championships. This year the squad suited up and talked about their expectations heading in to the biggest event of the year.
For National Coach Liu Guoliang, the tournament is the first step on a four year journey.
“The 2017 World Championships is the first big event during the new Olympic cycle. I am sure that there are many fans looking forward to watching this time. I hope our team can test what we have practiced in the closed training and achieve a good result in Düsseldorf.” Liu Guoliang
For Liu, the World Championships is not just a chance to test their skills, it is also an opportunity to give back to the fans and show appreciation for their support.
“After the Rio Olympics, table tennis has become very popular in China. There are lot of fans coming out today for their favourite players. Even when we meet difficulties, the fans are always there to support and cheer for us. It encourages the team to go further and achieve a better performance. So we have to show our best shape and get the best result in return for their love”
Ma Long has a title to defend and knows what road ahead of him holds.
“There are so many fans coming to support us today. The World Championships is so close now, I feel a bit nervous and excited at the same time. The first task when arriving in Europe is to get over the jet lag. And I also need to adjust my mindset.” Ma Long
Meanwhile for Fan Zhendong, the mission is clear in Düsseldorf.
“I made a lot of preparations during the closed training. My primary goal is to not lose to foreign players in both singles and doubles.” Fan Zhendong