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China's paddlers expected to return to Beijing in coming weeks

(Xinhua)    09:57, June 12, 2020

BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- China's national table tennis team plans to return to Beijing in the upcoming weeks following a three-month behind-closed-door training in Macao, and domestic competitions in China could resume in August, Table Tennis World magazine reported on Thursday.

The Chinese team has been in preparation for the Busan World Team Championships in Macao since March. As the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has rescheduled the competition to early 2021, the world's table tennis powerhouse has to change its training plans for the second half of 2020 accordingly.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, team China arrived in Macao in March after partaking in the Qatar Open.

"Our training has not been affected much by the pandemic during this special period," said Li Sun, head coach of China's women's team.

For his counterpart, men's team coach Qin Zhijian, despite a long duration of preparation in Macao, said players have maintained good form with clear duties and objectives in mind.

"We have gone through three phases in our training in Macao," Qin noted. "The first phase in March was about adjustment. Then in April, we focused on fitness training along with honing our fundamentals. We organized some matches within the team in May to keep players' competitiveness and relieve their pressure following a long time of training."

"Those girls have improved their understanding of the game. We will focus on the Olympic Games, maintaining our momentum towards it and developing a team that is ready to fight at all times," Li commented.

International table tennis matches are yet to resume as the World Team Championships have been postponed again, with team China making corresponding adjustments to their upcoming plans.

As planned, the team will return to Beijing from Macao in the coming weeks. Players will go back to their respective provincial teams for adjustments before assembling again in late July.

The Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) hopes to resume domestic matches in August.

Despite challenges triggered by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games and Busan World Team Championships, team China has not strayed from their attention to the Olympics preparation.

"Our priority is to keep veteran players' form and competitiveness, while also to accelerate young players' progress," Qin pointed out.

"We have no relaxation about our targets about the Olympics. Instead, we have a higher standard in our training," Li echoed.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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