Chinese coach Liu Guoliang urges ITTF to listen more to players

Updated 2017-03-10 09:59:11 Xinhua

The head coach of Chinese table tennis team Liu Guoliang said here on Thursday that The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) should take advices from players into consideration when introduce any reform.

The table tennis legend, who was crowned at 1996 Atlanta Olympics, threw the comments after Zhang Jike and Ma Long successively withdrew from team trials for the World Championships which to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany in May.

"Every sports authority should focus on the players, they are the core part of sports. It is better to listen to the players before making any reform with decisions among several officials," said the first table tennis Grand Slam winner in China.

The ITTF introduced a new kind of ball this year, which use Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) as the material. All the players have to adjust themselves to get used to the new ball.

"The ITTF keep taking reforms, but it seems more injuries came out every time they reformed. We saw injuries among massive players erupted at the 2015 World Championships. It's the same case here this time," Liu said.

"I hope the ITTF do some tests before they make any final decision, and take players' advices into consideration."

After the former world number one Zhang Jike pulled out from the team trials on Monday, his teammate, Rio Olympics gold medalist Ma Long withdrew too on Thursday due to waist strain.

"I played hard in the match against Lin Gaoyuan on Tuesday. I had a busy schedule," said Ma, current world number one and captain of Chinese team. "When playing against Zhou Kai today, I had my waist twisted and I feel sorry about the exit."

When asked why the team added the trials onto the already tight schedule, Liu said,

"I'd like to give players more time to rest. I like a relaxing schedule, but I can't do it. I need to help players adjust to the busy schedules of the World Championships and the Olympic Games," Liu added.

Liu said the ITTF Athletes Committee should appealed to the world governing body to listen more to the players.

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