Paris, May 12 (IANS) China’s all-conquering table tennis team has been expected to make another clean sweep of titles at the upcoming World Championships, but their head coach said that his top priority is to bring “joy” to French fans.
“Winning all the five titles is not very important for us. The most important thing is to give local fans a chance to enjoy table tennis,” Liu Guoliang, also a former world champion and Olympic gold winner, told Xinhua Saturday.
Chinese players have dominated the sport for almost 20 years and often made clean sweep of all the gold medals at both World Championships and Olympic Games.
They won all the five trophies two years ago and let no gold medals slip off their hands at last year’s London Olympic Games.
The Chinese squad arrived here from the Werner Schlager Academy in Schwechat, Austria, where they trained for a week. They brought back all the silverware which they had kept for two more years in their honors’ room at Beijing.
“After a week’s preparation, we have been ready for the world championships, physically and mentally,” Liu said.
Liu spoke highly of the table tennis tradition of Paris as the French capital hosted the worlds just 10 years ago.
“I have been very familiar with Paris since my playing days,” he said. “The fans here are very supportive and they understand table tennis very well. And the Bercy sports arena is one of the best grounds I have ever seen in the world. I hope we can see a full-capacity crowd in everyday’s competition.”
The world championships will kick off April 13 and the final event will be held May 20.