Paddler Ma Long says so long after bagging gold

TABLE tennis legend Ma Long said he had almost certainly made his last Asian Games appearance after helping hosts China to men’s team gold.

The five-time Olympic champion had the perfect finale as his straight-games victory over South Korea’s Park Gang-hyeon clinched gold for China, and the sixth Asian Games title of his storied career.

The 34-year-old said afterwards that he would not be competing in the individual events in Hangzhou.

“Being able to help the team together was for me a very good part of the mission here.

“Of course the competition is not over yet,” said Ma Long, who has also won 12 world championship golds.

“There are still many matches my teammates will participate in.

“I hope that if they need my help I can accompany them as a training partner including some pre-match preparations.

“We still have other competitions ahead after the Asian Games. I will continue to maintain a certain amount of training, but it is different than before and this could well be my last edition of the Asian Games.”

Asked about the prospect of defending his Olympic title in Paris next year, Ma Long said: “Paris is still too early to say for me. I’m not thinking so far ahead yet.” — AFP

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