Guo to miss World Champs despite recovery
Clifford Coonan in Beijing
Chinese diving sensation Guo Jingjing has been given the all-clear on her problematic right eye after a check-up but she said she would not take part in the 2004 World Diving Championships in Guangzhou.
The Olympic gold medallist travelled from her hometown of Baoding, Hebei province, to Beijing's Tongren hospital for a check-up and told the Xinhua news agency she was relieved when the doctors told her they had found no serious problems.
Guo had an operation on her right eye after she injured it during a competition in 2001. While the operation was a success, her eyesight dropped to 0.2 afterwards.
The Guangzhou competition is due to start tomorrow. An official at the tournament said a number of high-profile divers were still due to take part, including Olympic champions such as Peng Bo, Yang Jinghui, Lao Lishi and Li Ting.
Another notable absentee from the list is Guo's rumoured boyfriend, fellow Olympic gold medallist Tian Liang. There are regular reports in the gossip columns that their relationship is in turmoil. Last week the Athens Olympic champion returned to training in her home town. She had been the subject of widespread speculation about her private life.
The 23-year-old denied having a 'special relationship' with Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, grandson of tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, after Hong Kong media carried reports and pictures of the pair entwined on a couch at a Shanghai club.
Guo's high profile in the media - she is the face of McDonald's and is a fixture in the gossip pages - is a major talking point.
In an interview with Xinhua, there was no reference made to speculation about her relationships, but the state agency did describe how she had become 'a controversial personality after the Olympic Games'.
She said she had been keeping a low profile since late November, tidying up her house, and was tired of all the attention. She and Tian both missed training and were told they would not be allowed back on the national team, although they both were contrite and said they were confident of returning to the squad.