Table Tennis: Liu, Shi to Lead National Teams


Former table tennis world champions, Liu Guoliang (R) and Shi Zhihao, have been officially appointed as head coaches of the two national teams.


The announcement was made Tuesday in Beijing by the Chinese Table Tennis Association.


The two coaches will lead the men's and women's teams as they prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


For the first time in the history of the national teams, table tennis' head coaches were arrived at through a bidding process.




Name: Liu Guoliang


Born: Jan. 10th, 1976


Liu began learning to playing table tennis at the age of six. He was selected for the national youth team at 13 and two years later was promoted to the national team.


He won two gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics, winning both the men's singles and doubles (when paired with Kong Linghui).


Liu is the first and only paddler to win at the world championships, the world cup and the Olympics.


He retired in 2002 to become a coach for the national team and one year later became the team's head coach.


With Liu at the helm, the Chinese men's team won the 2004 World Championships team title. In 2005 his team garnered both the men's singles and doubles golds at the world champs.


Name: Shi Zhihao


Born: Sep. 26th, 1959


Shi became a professional player in 1973 and joined the national team in 1977. He retired in 1986.


He won the men's singles and team title at the 1980 Asian Championships. And was a runner-up in men's doubles.


Shi was also a member of the national team which won the 1981 world championships team crown.


After retirement, he became a university student in Shanghai and later went to Japan and Germany to extend his career as a player and to start a coaching career.


He returned to hometown Shanghai in 1997 to coach the home side. A year later, he was promoted to the national team and has been the coach of women's world champions Yang Ying and Li Ju.


He is also the coach of men's world number one Wang Liqin.


(CRI December 7, 2005)