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China changes Olympic table tennis team roster as injured Liu withdraws

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-01 11:08
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Liu Shiwen of China reacts during her match with Xu Xin of China against Emmanuel Lebesson of France and Jia Nan Yuan of France, in Tokyo 2020 Olympics on July 25, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO -- All-leading Chinese table tennis team made a change to their roster on Sunday when the Olympic team event kicks off, as Liu Shiwen has withdrawn after suffering a recurring elbow injury at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

China's P-card holder Wang Manyu has stepped in to replace Liu.

According to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), each team is eligible to nominate one reserve player to the Tokyo Games to replace a team member who is injured or has an illness and the Chinese Olympic Committee has informed the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee that Liu will be replaced by Wang.

"The ITTF has reviewed the documents and confirmed the replacement," read an ITTF statement.

Li Sun, head coach of China's women's national team, revealed that impacted by her elbow injury, Liu felt quite uncomfortable in training after finishing her mixed doubles duty on July 26 and informed the team's coaching group about this condition.

"We asked the delegation's medical group for an immediate diagnosis on Liu," said Li. "As advised by the medical staff and under the principle of preserving athletes' health, we decided to apply for a P-card replacement."

Liu is an Olympic title-winning member with China in 2016. She claimed her first World Cup crown in 2009, and a record fifth ten years later. Liu came out the winner at the World Championships in 2019, her first at one of the most prestigious table tennis tournaments.

Liu voiced her pity for being unable to continue to play due to an injury recurrence, also expressing her appreciation towards everyone's support to her and the Chinese team.

Wang joined the national junior team at the age of 14 before being promoted to the national team at 17 years old. She helped China win team titles at the World Championships and the World Cup in 2018. The 22-year-old is also the women's doubles winner at the 2019 World Championships along with Sun Yingsha.

China has claimed gold medals in both men's and women's singles events by Ma Long and Chen Meng respectively at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, but Liu and her partner Xu Xin conceded a defeat to Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito in the mixed doubles final, seeing hosts Japan claim its first ever Olympic gold medal since the sport debuted in the Olympic Games in 1988.

The Chinese women's team is scheduled to begin their title defense against Austria on Sunday. 

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