Asian Games 2018

Asian Games 2018: China’s injured Zhang Changning told to leave women’s volleyball squad on eve of departure to Jakarta

The 23-year-old returns to Nanjing by high-speed train and told to prepare for September’s world championship after sustaining a knee injury for Jakarta

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 8:27pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 8:45pm

One minute, China women’s volleyball ace Zhang Changning was happily posing for pictures with her teammates as she prepared to leave Beijing for the Asian Games in Jakarta. Within hours, Zhang was on a high-speed train back to Nanjing, having to pull out of the squad because of a knee injury.

The 23-year-old Zhang, who helped China to Olympic gold in Rio two years ago, injured her knee during training on August 4 while they squad were training in Ningbo after a collision with star player Zhu Ting.

After receiving medical treatment, Zhang felt she was improving and was given the all-clear to play in the Asian Games, which starts official on Saturday. But on Thursday, she received notice to return to the Jiangsu women’s team and prepare herself for the world championship from September 29 to October 20 in Japan.

“I have not felt any pain and I started to do some moderate exercises,” Zhang was quoted as saying by the mainland media before she was told to leave the squad.

The 1.95-metre Zhang is an aggressive attacking player and is known for her fierce smashes, which she delivers with force from an incredible height as she dominates the net.

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Reports say that Zhang went straight to Jiangsu training from the train station with her provincial team saying they would help her in her recovery so she can be fit for the world championship.

Zhang was a member of the China team who finished runners-up to South Korea at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014. She was looking forward to making up for the defeat and was also hoping to enjoy an family affair with her brother, Zhang Chen, playing in China’s men’s squad.

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China are in pool B with South Korea, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and India and are favourites to win gold. Pool A features Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong and Philippines.