Fans welcome star player back at table tennis association

BY APD NEWSDec 03,2018 at 11:04

Table tennis fans welcomed the appointment of Olympic champion Liu Guoliang as president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association to replace the former head Cai Zhenhua on Saturday.

In a Saturday evening post on Sina Weibo. China's Twitter-like social media platform, Liu expressed gratitude for everyone's support.

Liu's post was reposted more than 22,000 times and liked more than 230,000 times as of press time on Sunday evening.

"The Chinese national table tennis team is once again on the way to becoming invincible," read one typical Weibo comment posted on Saturday.

Under Liu's reign as head coach, China won all 12 golds in the last three Olympic Games. China has won 28 out of the 32 gold medals awarded since table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988.

Liu deserved the job, Luo Le, a doctor in sports sociology graduated from Beijing Sport University who now works for Titan Sports Media Group, told the Global Times.

Becoming association president means Liu will not only aid the national team to win games but also put more energy in promoting table tennis as a sport among children and elderly people, Luo said.

Fans compared Liu with former NBA star Yao Ming, president of the Chinese Basketball Association, and used the Chinese phrase "having the professional man for the professional thing." 

Naming former players like Liu and Yao as presidents of corresponding associations was the right thing to do, Luo agreed.

An association president must also have enough management experience and ability, Luo noted.

Liu, who won the men's singles and doubles gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, was appointed coach of the Chinese national men's team in 2003 at age 27.

He became chief coach of the national team in 2013 while also taking the helm of the men's team, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Performances declined after Liu stepped down as chief coach of the national team in 2017.


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