China Offers Table Tennis Legend Ma Another Chance for Olympic Glory

Wed May 15 2024
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PARIS: Ma Long, China’s formidable table tennis icon, will vie for a historic sixth Olympic gold medal in Paris this August, despite being thwarted in his quest for a third consecutive singles title at his fourth consecutive Summer Games.

The 35-year-old, a towering figure with 14 world championships under his belt, clinched team golds at all his previous Olympic outings, alongside consecutive men’s singles triumphs in Rio and Tokyo, solidifying his status as the most decorated table tennis Olympian ever.

While Wang Chuqin and Fan Zhendong, Ma’s vanquished adversaries in the Tokyo final, secured China’s singles entries for Paris, Ma himself was later endorsed by the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) as the third member for the team tournament.

In the women’s category, continuity reigns supreme as China fields an unchanged lineup from Tokyo, spearheaded by reigning champion Chen Meng and world number one Sun Yingsha, alongside world number three Wang Manyu, poised to extend China’s dominance in the sport.

With a staggering 32 out of 37 gold medals and 60 out of 155 total medals since its 1988 inception in the Summer Olympics, securing a spot on China’s national team remains fiercely competitive.

Looking to rectify the lone setback from Tokyo, the mixed doubles, China pairs up its top-ranked duo, Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, aiming to seize gold in Paris.

Additionally, world number four pair Liang Jingkun and Wang Yidi stand as substitutes for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively, as per the CTTA.

Mark your calendars, as the 2024 Olympic table tennis spectacle unfolds at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles from July 27 to August 10.

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