China's star spiker Zhu needs time to recover and return to national team

Zhu Ting of China returns the ball against the Dominican Republic at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy, June 13, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- China women's volleyball star spiker Zhu Ting says she needs more time to recover from a wrist injury and return to the national team.

"I played OK in Italy this season, but the condition of my wrist was not very satisfactory, and I am still far from a full recovery," Zhu, who underwent surgery last spring to cure an injury to her right wrist that had troubled her during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old outside hitter will not travel with the national team, as her teammates will fly to Japan on Friday for Women's Volleyball Nations League matches.

"Returning to the national team has been my greatest motivation in my recovery after surgery, but the progress was not as quick as I had expected," said Zhu.

"The national jersey represents not only honor but also responsibility. If I return to the national team, I should try my utmost in training and matches and set a good example for the young players.

"However, I am not able to do that right now due to my physical condition. I will try my best with rehabilitation so that I can return to the team with much better form as soon as possible."

Zhu was the leading attacker as China's women took gold medals at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In the 2022-23 season, Zhu won the CEV Volleyball Cup and took third place in the Italian Serie A1 women's volleyball league with Scandicci.