China’s Olympic and World champion table tennis star Ding Ning gives World Cup a miss – for the fourth time
World number one set to lose her place at the top of the rankings
Double world and Olympic champion Ding Ning of China has pulled out of the World Cup for the fourth time in her career.
The Chinese Table Tennis Association said the 27-year-old Rio Olympic champion would not be taking part in the event in Canada this month because of injuries.
Ding won it in 2011 and 2014, but has pulled out in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Her absence last year, along with that of compatriot Liu Shiwen, gave Japan their first World Cup champion, Miu Hirano, who beat Cheng I-Ching of Taiwan in the final in Philadelphia. Before that, China had won every women’s World Cup since it started in 1996.
Ding said on Weibo that she had not been able to train normally since the National Games, and promised fans she would be back soon.
At 17, Hirano, has been hailed as the biggest hope to break the Chinese domination of the sport. In April, she beat three top Chinese paddlers, including Ding, on her way to be crowned the youngest ever Asian champion.
But then the Chinese vowed to stop her and Hirano was thrashed by Ding in the World Championships two months later.
Ding’s absence from the World Cup to be held on October 27-29, will mean the world number one will be temporary suspended from the rankings because she will not have played in four months.
Her spot at the tournament will be taken over by Liu, who will be joined by Zhu Yueling, the reigning Asian Cup holder.
Hong Kong have Doo Hoi-kem and Lee Ho-ching qualified for the tournament.