Chinese male paddlers withdraw from Australian Open

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 30, 2017
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Table tennis' world governing body ITTF Thursday confirmed that the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) has withdrawn the under-investigation Chinese men's team for the upcoming World Tour Platinum Australian Open.

"It is unfortunate that the decision was made to withdraw the entire men's team of Zhang Jike, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Yan An, Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan from the Australian Open, despite only two of the players (Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin) being involved in last week's incident at the China Open," read the statement released via

The Chinese table tennis team, however, later reponsed that they decided to withdraw the men's team from the 400,000 U.S. dollars Australian Open since the players were just tired or with injuries.

"Regarding the latest tight schedule of competitions, the Chinese table tennis team has decided to rest the men's team and withdraw them for the 2017 ITTF World Tour Australian Open," said the statement.

"The Chinese Table Tennis Association has communicated with the International Table Tennis Federation upon this issue and been given permission with full understanding from the ITTF," it added.

With the withdrawal of the Chinese men's team, their counterparts of the women's side, led by world No. 3 Zhu Yuling, will still be competing in the event, confirmed the CTTA.

Qualification for the Australian Open starts on Sunday 2 July, with the main draw starting on 4 July in the Gold Coast, Australia.

The withdrawal of the Chinese men's team was confirmed six days after three players and two coaches of the team pulled out of the China Open in protest of the CTTA's decision to remove Liu Guoliang as the team's chief.

Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top three male paddlers in the men's world rankings, made no appearance at the second round singles matches at the ITTF World Tour Platinum China Open in Chengdu, Southwest China on June 23.

Before their no-show, the three players and two coaches, Qin Zhijian and Ma Lin, posted identical messages on their social media accounts that they "have no desire to fight" because they miss their former head coach Liu Guoliang.

The boycott was later severely criticized by the country's sports ruling body as a spokesperson of China's General Administration of Sports said the withdrawal was "a breach of professional ethics and showed no respect to their rivals and the audience."

"We have urged the Chinese Table Tennis Association to investigate into the case and deal with it seriously," said the spokesperson last Friday.

Then the CTTA made a preliminary report to the sport's world governing body before the Chinese table tennis team made a public apology on Saturday.

The ITTF issued a statement on Sunday, saying "all potential sanctions are on the table, and the ITTF will continue its investigation before any decisions are made".

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