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China replaces Guo with Ding in Olympics

Updated: 2012-05-11 06:35
( Xinhua)

China replaces Guo with Ding in Olympics 

Ding Ning returns a ball during the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Dortmund March 26, 2012. [Photo/Agencies] 

BEIJING - Chinese table tennis squad have confirmed to replace veteran Guo Yan with current world No. 1 Ding Ning for the upcoming London Olympic Games, according to the world governing body of table tennis.

"The decision was confirmed by the Chinese National Olympic Committee on Wednesday 9th May 2012," the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said Thursday on its official website (www.ittf.com).

Shi Zhihao, head coach of the Chinese women's table tennis team, shut his cell phone down and cannot be reached immediately for comments.

According to the ITTF, the reason for the change was that "Guo Yan is injured".

A list of players qualified for the 2012 Games shows that the Chinese squad was updated on May 4 and confirmed on May 9.

Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yan had become the first qualifiers among Chinese paddlers as they occupied the respective top two places on last June's list.

With Guo Yan's withdrawal, Ding gains a berth in London automatically and does not need to play qualification tournaments.

And China now has Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia for both the women's singles and team event in London, and Guo Yue solely in the team event after the former world champion qualified through the Asian Qualification Tournament in Hong Kong in April.

The 21-year-old Ding, who won the women's singles title at both last year's worlds in Rotterdam and the World Cup, has improved her world ranking from No. 3 to No. 1 over the past 12 months.

In March's world team championships in Dortmund, Ding was instrumental in China's reclaiming the women's title, while Guo Yan, who also played well in group stage, was left on the bench during the final against defending champions Singapore.

Each ITTF member association is permitted a maximum of two players by ranking.