Ma Long Withdraws From Men’s Singles at China National Games
Ma Long has withdrawn from the men’s singles event from the China National Games due to the tight schedule following the Tokyo Olympics and mandatory 21 day quarantine. He will still play the team and doubles events.
Ma won the previous two China National Games in 2013 and 2017, and by withdrawing he will forgo a chance to win a record-setting three titles.
Translation of a Chinese media report below:
Beijing time on September 12, according to “Beijing Daily” report, Ma Long, who has won the Olympic champion, will withdraw from the singles competition in the National Games and focus on the men’s team and men’s doubles.
The Beijing team’s head coach Zhang Lei said: “After returning from isolation, Ma Long actively engaged in recovery and preparations for the National Games, but the entire time was too short. Considering the next National Games, the schedule will be intense, with team, doubles and singles three. After comprehensive discussions between our coaching team, medical insurance team and Ma Long, Ma Long will focus on the men’s team and men’s doubles in this game.”
At the Tokyo Olympics that ended in August, the 32-year-old Ma Long defended his singles and team doubles, becoming another Olympic “five crown” in China’s sports world.
In an interview after the game, Ma Long said: “I think I can still play, I can persist, and I can work hard to compete with young players. This is the mental strength I need most when I go down.”
But just after the Olympic schedule + 21 days of isolation, there is too little time left for Ma Long to prepare for the National Games, so Ma Long gave up the National Games single men’s competition and focused on the men’s team and men’s doubles.
But even if Ma Long did not represent the Beijing team in the men’s singles, the team is still strong. New and old national players such as Wang Chuqin, Xu Chenhao, Yan An and Zeng Beixun are all in the team. Among them, 21-year-old Wang Chuqin is the most promising. During the Tokyo Olympics cycle, Wang Chuqin beat Lin Gaoyuan, Liang Jingkun and other players to get the Olympic reserve spot, becoming one of the key players of the national team preparing for the Paris Olympics.
It is worth mentioning that in the last National Games [in 2017], Wang Chuqin, who was only 17 years old, lost to Ma Long in the men’s singles semifinals and finally won the third place, while Malone defeated Fan Zhendong in the final to win the championship. At the same time, the men’s singles championship at the 2013 National Games was also won by Malone.
This also means that this year’s National Games Ma Long will not be able to create a record of three consecutive National Games men’s singles.