Anshan (China), Sep 3: Olympic table tennis champion Guo Yue may have to pull out of China’s National Games owing to a neck injury, her coach said Tuesday.
Guo, who represents Liaoning Province in the ongoing National Games, fell down to the court midway her game against Yin Jie in the women’s team event after she apparently strained her neck while stroking the ball, reports Xinhua.
The 25-year-old left-handed player was advised to quit when she managed to stand up with the help from other players.
“Although it remains unknown now how serious her injury is, I guess that Guo is unlikely to continue to play at the National Games,” said Liaoning’s coach Song Liang.
Guo, a key member of China’s Olympic gold-winning team in 2008, is the No. 1 player for the Liaoning team. If she withdraws from the National Games, it would be a heavy blow to the hosts, one of the favorites in the competition.
“It is no doubt a huge loss to our team. But health is the most important thing. Whenever an athlete gets injured, treatment comes first. Win or loss doesn’t matter anymore,” said Song.
“I feel very sorry about her,” added the coach.
As Guo, who also helped China win world championship team titles in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2012, has been plagued with the neck injury for years, some fear that she may have to hang up her bat this time around.
When asked whether Guo could continue her sporting career, Song replied, “I don’t know.”
Despite Guo’s unexpected pullout, Liaoning beat Guangxi 3-2 Monday to top Group A and has already secured a place in the last eight.
But, according to the rules for the National Games, if Guo pulls out, the Liaoning team cannot name a replacement as the competition has already begun.