by Henry Chen
Pivotal to China’s success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and then in action on the ITTF World Tour at SheSays China Open in Chengdu in mid-September but absent ever since from the international scene, the name of China’s Zhang Jike appears prominently on the entry list for the forthcoming Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open.
Following two days of qualification, play commences on Thursday 23rd February and concludes on Sunday 26th February.
Notably Zhang Jike did not compete in the 2016 Chinese Super League; the event which dominated the domestic scene in the last three months of the year. Notably, Shandong Luneng, the team Zhang Jike has represented in the past, experienced its lowest finish in the past nine years.
They concluded matters in fifth place and thus did not advance to the play-offs.
Likewise, Zhang Jike was not present at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, injury being cited as the reason.
Now free from injury, the charismatic character would appear to be rejuvenated; especially with selection for the Liebherr 2017 World Championships imminent.
“I am an athlete; the place where athletes want to be and the most nostalgic setting is the arena; being there in action is my top priority”, Zhang Jike
Notably, Zhang Jike was back in training at the start of this year and aims to compete in extensively on the 2017 international scene.
“The condition of my recovery from injury should be good; I cannot say that I’ll be one hundred percent restored in a certain period of time, I’m just trying to return to the state of my condition before the injury. I’m hoping it will be like before; no accidents and I be able to join forces with the Chinese Team in bringing good results”, Zhang Jike
Never write off Zhang Jike, winner of the Men’s Singles title at consecutive World Championships in 2011 in Rotterdam and in 2013 in Paris; the Liebherr 2017 World Championships to be held from Monday 29th May to Monday 5th June in Düsseldorf, Germany, make no mistake, it is home for Zhang Jike.
He is the big time player.