Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Wang Shuang (second from right) and her teammates cheer for China ahead of the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup round of 16 against Italy in Montpellier, France. China lost 2-0. Photo: Xinhua

Wang Shuang rejoins China women’s football team after Wuhan lock down ends

  • The 2018 Asian women’s Footballer of the Year was stranded in Wuhan after celebrating the Lunar New Year holidays at home
  • China’s Olympic qualifying play-off against South Korea is further postponed to next year

Top Chinese women’s footballer Wang Shuang rejoined the national team after her home city Wuhan ended the month-long lock down on Wednesday.

The three-time Chinese Women’s Footballer of the Year (2017-2019) and 2018 Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year was recalled by national coach Jia Xiuquan after being forced to miss the Olympic qualification tournament in February when Wang was stranded in the city battered by the pandemic.

On January 23, the Chinese government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province in an effort to quarantine the centre of the coronavirus outbreak. Just a day before, Wang, along with two other teammates also from Wuhan, Lyu Yueyun and Yao Wei, was given permission to return home for the Lunar New Year holidays after finishing a training camp with the national team. Since then, the three national team players were trapped in the city and could only watch as their teammates left for Australia to contest the Olympic qualifiers.

Wang Shuang (centre) in a training session with the China national team in Albufeira, Portugal in preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Photo: Xinhua

China came second in the tournament and had to play against winners of another group, South Korea, for a ticket to Tokyo. The home-and-away tie was first scheduled for March but was pushed back to April and then June due to the continuing spread of the pandemic in the region. And after the Tokyo Summer Games was postponed to 2021, the qualifying play-off has been further delayed with a date some time in early 2021.

Wuhan on the move again as coronavirus lockdown limits ease

Reports in the mainland said the three players would rejoin the national team after a 75-day lockdown and had travelled to Suzhou where the team is based for a training camp.

Wang Shuang celebrates with her PSG teammates after scoring in the women's Champions League round of 16 against Linkoping of Sweden. Photo: EPA

Despite being forced to stay home, Wang, 25, revealed she never stopped training to maintain her physical fitness and sharpness. “As a Wuhan citizen, we always carry the spirit of ‘never losing’ and that’s why we can finally overcome the pandemic,” said Wang, who donated 600,000 yuan to Wuhan during the lockdown. “Now the pandemic is over and I look forward to playing for my country again, fighting for international honours. I will also bring the Wuhan spirit to the football pitch so that we can win more matches.”

China raise concerns over Olympic football qualifier in virus-affected South Korea

Wang Shuang plays for China against Italy at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup. Photo: Xinhua

Striker Wang was earning around 500,000 yuan a year when she played for Paris Saint-Germain in the French women’s league from 2018-19, scoring seven goals in 18 matches.

Fans praised her for the donation, which amounted to more than she earned during her brief stint overseas.