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Ding Ning announces her retirement after a 26-year career
Sep 28, 2021, 3:25:00 AM

Ding Ning announces her retirement after a 26-year career

After an illustrious table tennis career that spanned 26 years, China's Ding Ning has announced her retirement from the sport she played for most of her life. She started her career back when she was only five years of age and she was pleased with every year she spent in the sport.

Ding began when she was just a child but she learned lessons like not to be fearless. She expressed her gratitude to the Chinese table tennis system and its coaches.

It’s not a surprise that Ding’s retirement became the hottest topic on Chinese social media. She is a legendary figure in Chinese sports but she wants to secure her future. This is why she enrolled at Peking University to continue her studies after she retired from pro table tennis.

Ding was met with widespread support from the likes of fellow Chinese players and even Japanese star Ai Fukuhara who was vocal about her support for her friendly rival.

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Ding was a bright figure for sports

When you look at what Ding accomplished, you can see why she was such a strong star in the Chinese sports system. She even had an impact on athletes outside of her country because players like Ai looked up to her. She is only 31 but she left a mark on the sport due to her longevity.

Ai talked about the impact that her fellow star had on her and the sport. Ai said, ‘I figured out the reason why you could have won so many (Summer Games) and world championships. From you, I see that a person who is really capable does not need to hide herself’.

It should not be a surprise that Ding is one of the best examples of a table tennis star. She always handled herself with grace and when she was playing, she always exuded the quiet confidence that became her trademark. She was a steady star who can always be relied on to compete for victories.

Ding’s influence will be felt for a long time

When you look at the responses to Ding’s retirement, you will see that she had a significant effect not only on the sport but on casual fans who were drawn to athletics because of Ding’s influence.

Cindy Zhu is a big fan of Ding and she became an amateur table tennis player due to her influence. Now, she is pursuing the same dream that her hero chased. Zhu said, ’I've been her fan ever since 2010. I like the vibe she delivered as a woman player, steady and bold, but also humble and gentle to people’.

Zhu is just one of the people that Ding influenced because there are countless more. She may have retired but Ding will never be forgotten.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA