BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) president Liu Guoliang has highlighted the importance of concentration during the team's preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
China has won 32 of a possible 37 gold medals since table tennis debuted at the Olympic Games in 1988.
The all-time leading Chinese team is gearing up for the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) Finals in Durban, South Africa from May 20 to 28, before competing in the Asian Games on home turf with the aim of repeating their success at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, where China swept five gold medals.
"The ITTF WTTC Finals and the Asian Games will be a comprehensive test of our strength in 2023, so as to lay a solid foundation in our Paris Olympics preparation," said Liu.
"All elite paddlers will participate in the ITTF WTTC Finals, and it is expected to be a fierce competition," commented Liu.
"As we compete in the Asian Games on home soil, it is expected to bring about more comprehensive test to paddlers than the ITTF WTTC Finals in terms of pressure and atmosphere," the Chinese table tennis legend added.
Discussing the Paris Olympics, Liu said that China has the strength of contending for five gold medals on offer, while admitting the challenge will be huge.
"The key is that we can select a squad that has the biggest strength and can handle the pressure," he explained.
"In 2023, we are in the final push towards the Paris Olympics. The two major tournaments this year will offer us opportunities to observe and select suitable players," Liu said.
Besides renowned figures such as Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, rising young stars also attract much attention. Liu said China's young players will pose big challenges to those well-accomplished veterans leading up to Paris 2024.
"We will go all out for five gold medals in Paris. With over one year to go until the Paris Olympics, there is a lot of uncertainty and much room for improvement. We need to focus on ourselves and consolidate our leading position in global table tennis," he concluded. ■