The Burning Question for Rio: Will Zhang Jike Defend his Title? Ask Him
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Zhang Jike en route to victory at the recent 2016 ITTF World Tour Kuwait Open
Photo By: Mohammad Amin
A place in the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games; will Chinaís Zhang Jike defend his Menís Singles in the Brazilian city, with only two players per National Committee eligible to compete in the event in the prestigious multi-sport gathering, it is very much the burning question.
No player has ever retained the title four years later; in fact the only player to gain a medal in the Menís Singles event in consecutive Olympic Games is Zhang Jikeís mentor, Liu Guoliang.
He won gold in Atlanta in 1996, before four years later in Sydney securing the bronze medal.
Ask a Pro Anything The appearance of Zhang Jike in the Menís Singles event at the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games was one of the questions put to Zhang Jike in the latest edition of ďAsk a Pro AnythingĒ.
Title Defences Notably of the four players from China who have won gold in the Menís Singles event at an Olympic Games, Liu Guoliang is the only member of the quartet who, to date, has been afforded the opportunity to defend the title.
Kong Longhui, after winning in Sydney did not defend his title in Athens, he only played in the Menís Doubles event partnering Wang Hao; also Ma Lin who succeeded in Beijing in 2008 announced his retirement from international play prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Big Four What of Zhang Jike? Perhaps of the current group of top Chinese players when Ma Long, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong are taken into consideration, the results gained by Zhang Jike since he retained his Menís Singles crown at the Liebherr 2013 World Championships in Paris, might suggest he is fourth on the list.
However, just as with the likes of Swedish legend Jan-Ove Waldner, if there was ever a man for the big, the very big occasion, it is Zhang Jike.
Ask a Pro Anything Thus will Zhang Jike follow in the footsteps of Kong Linghui and Ma Lin or will there be a further opportunity as there was for Liu Guoliang?
Listen and see what Zhang Jike has to say to the burning question and several others posed by Adam Bobrow.