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Spotlight: April 2016 – Ma Long

Ma Long - photo by the ITTF– photo provided courtesy of the ITTF

Ma Long is SD Sport’s spotlight feature for April, after the Chinese player sealed his place at the Olympic Games by winning the East Asian Qualifiers.

Ma was born in Anshan, Liaoning Province, China in 1988 and began playing table tennis at the age of 5. He was scouted and taken to Beijing to further his skills as a player before eventually being called up to represent his country in 2003. The following year, Ma participated at the Asian Junior Championships where he won the Men’s Singles, Mixed Doubles and Team gold medals and went on to win the World Junior Championships Men’s Singles title in the same year.

2006 saw Ma Long become the youngest world champion (18) after he teamed up with China to win the World Team Championships in Bremen. One year later Ma won the first of his 22 ITTF Singles titles at the 2007 Kuwait Open, before he picked up the Asian Cup and ITTF World Tour Grand Finals trophies in 2008.

Since then, Ma has gone on to win another three Grand Finals titles alongside the Asian Games, Asian Cup, World Cup and the World Championships.

Ma Long is also well know for the achievements he has set over the years including: going unbeaten for 40 singles matches, most ITTF World Tour Singles titles of any Chinese male player ever, and being one of only two players (Fan Zhendong) to claim all four medals at an Asian Championships.

On the 6th of March, Ma Long was part of the China squad who won the 2016 World Team Championships.

Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong (Asia Olympic Qualifiers) – video kindly shared by the ITTF