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Former Chinese table tennis player Wang Chen announces retirement
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18:30, August 21, 2008

Former Chinese table tennis player Wang Chen announced her retirement on Thursday, after reaching the Olympic women's singles quarterfinals with a hard-earned victory over a world's leading defensive player.

Wang of the United States took the match 4-3 against South Korean chopper Kim Kyung-ah, who won a singles bronze at the Athens Games four years ago and beat Wang 3-1 in the team event last week.

The former Chinese knelt down and lowered her head in a flood of tears the moment she won. It was the first and also the last time that Wang competed at the Olympic Games.

"I'm 34 years old and my back hurts a lot. Sometimes I just want to give up, but I wanted to play at the Olympics, which is a big event. I will retire after this tournament," she said.

"It's so difficult to enter the top eight, and it's very hard for me at the Olympic Games," she added.

Wang, ranked 25th in the world, used to be a member of China's national team. After failing twice to enter the Olympic team of the table tennis superpower, she moved to the United States in 1999 to help her sister run leather stores in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey.

In 2001, she moved to Manhattan, where a real estate dealer offered her a job of managing a table tennis club named after her. She gained the U.S. citizenship five years later.

Wang's personal best includes a team gold at the 1997 world championships and three ITTF Pro Tour women's singles titles. She beat the then reigning world champion Deng Yaping in western Chinese city of Xi'an in 1996.

"Whenever I play against Chinese players, my mind is prone to wandering. It may be because I have a Chinese heart," she said earlier this year.

Another former Chinese in the U.S. national team is Gao Jun, who represented China to win doubles silver medals at the 1991 world championships and the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Source: Xinhua

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