Refreshed Wang driven by lure of special Beijing swansong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong number one Wang Chen (pictured)still believes she has the drive and the talent to crown her career with an Olympic medal next year.

Wang, who returned to Hong Kong this week after a month in her native Shanghai, where she had been receiving treatment for a nagging shoulder problem, said there would be special significance for her in capturing a medal in Beijing.

'After the Athens Games, I thought I would never be able to compete in the Olympic Games again because of my age and physical condition,' said Wang, who turns 31 tomorrow. 'But I can still meet the physical requirements of high-level competition, even though I am battling niggling injuries. I am still competitive on the world circuit.'

Wang, who left the mainland in the late 1990s, first represented Hong Kong at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Before coming to the SAR, the former world junior championship finalist had represented China in most major tournaments, except the Olympics.

'Because the next Olympic Games are to be held in Beijing, it is a special occasion for all Chinese athletes. They would also definitely be my last Olympics. I am sure my family and my friends will all come to watch me if I qualify,' she said.

Wang, who won a gold medal in the women's singles at the Doha Asian Games in December, should have little problem qualifying for Beijing. Her world ranking surged back to fourth after she captured the Super Series in Indonesia last month.

The world's top 16 on May 1, 2008, are almost certain of a place at the games as there are 36 places in the women's singles.

Wang also said her shoulder problem had almost healed, though she still had a right knee problem.

She leaves today for a Super League club competition in Indonesia ahead of the next Super Series tournament next month in Chengdu. Hong Kong's Yip Pui-yin, Ng Wei and men's doubles pair Albertus Njoto and Yohan Wiratama, will join her in Indonesia.