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Rookie pro Zeng wins CLPGA Tour Money title

Teenager Zeng Liqi poses with her trophy. (Photo: SHINE)Zeng Liqi has capped off her rookie season as a professional on a high note by winning the 2022 China LPGA Tour Order of Merit.The 16-year-old Nanchang teenager won the money title with earnings of 190,675 yuan (US$27,780), largely on the strength of back-to-back wins at last months CGA Ladies Championship and the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge in November.Fan Shuangshan topped the money list with 201,200 yuan from two events but was ruled ineligible to win the Order as the 17-year-old Chongqing native did not play the required minimum three events. Sui Xiang, winner of the season-ending Guowei Centre Plaza Zhuhai Challenge, was third with 189,000 yuan.The schedule for the 2023 season is currently being arranged with a minimum of 10 events planned. The CLPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament tees off the season on February 20 on Hainan Island. Currently, more than 90 players, both domestic and international, are registered for the 54-hole tournament to be contested over The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula (East Course).In total, 20 full-time playing cards (including ties) are on offer for the upcoming season. The maximum field for the Q-school is 120 players.

Sports authority calls on support for Amateur Games

The 2023 Shanghai Amateur Games, which begin this month, will feature over 6,000 online and offline sporting competitions and activities. The citys sports authority is inviting sports associations, organizations, businesses, and other social agencies to help organize the Games.The annual Amateur Games, which began in 2017, aims to promote sport in daily life, cultivate the habit of exercising, and strengthen Shanghais position as an international sports metropolis.People take part in the basketball league at last years Shanghai Amateur Games. (Photos: SHINE)The Amateur Games will include leagues, competition series, sports carnivals, and other activities and will run until November. Some will involve the Yangtze River Delta region.The league games will include traditional ball games like football, basketball, table tennis, badminton and tennis, as well as rugby, skating, taekwondo and tai chi. Chinese chess will be introduced as a new discipline.This year, 28 city-level and 16 district-level competitions will be held. Shanghai Archery Open, Shanghai Employees Dragon Boat Race, Shanghai Cycling Carnival, Shanghai Development Zone Sports Meet, and Shanghai Citizens Climbing Competition are the five new city-level events for 2023.The Amateur Games include both traditional ball games and sports like ice hockey and curling.In addition to district-level sports authorities, sports associations, businesses and other social groups are encouraged to become event organizers. They will get city government funding as well as event organization and promotion help from the sports authority.The 2022 Shanghai Amateur Games hosted 6,320 events and activities throughout the year. Among them, 4,162 were offline, attracting 3.62 million participants.Sports associations, enterprises and other social groups are encouraged to become event organizers of the Amateur Games.

Djokovic recovers from shaky start to reach Adelaide quarters

Novak Djokovic overcame a shaky start to beat Frenchman Quentin Halys on Thursday and reach the Adelaide International quarter-finals, stepping up his preparations for the Australian Open.Serbias Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory against Frances Quentin Halys during their mens singles match at the Adelaide International tennis tournament in Adelaide on January 5, 2023. (Photo: AFP)The top seed from Serbia won 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5) and will face Canadas Denis Shapovalov in the last eight.Djokovic returned to the scene of his 2007 title run on Tuesday with a comfortable straight-sets win over Frances Constant Lestienne.He backed that up against Lestiennes doubles partner Halys but was slow to get going, slumping 2-5 in the first set before clinching victory."It was a great performance from my opponent today," said the 35-year-old Djokovic, who is warming up for a tilt at a 10th Australian Open title after missing last years Grand Slam when he was deported over his vaccination status."He played like a top-10 player today."It was difficult to break his serve because he was hitting his spots and he was being very precise, and big serves, as well," he added. "Proud to be able to overcome a challenge like this. Winning two tiebreakers is always great I think for confidence level at the beginning of the year."With the crowd firmly behind the former world number one on a packed centre court, Djokovic -- who won Wimbledon among five titles last year -- lost his opening service game against the 64th-ranked Frenchman.He earned two break points in game three but was unable to convert, biding his time until the seventh game, when he broke to love and then raced through the tiebreak.Nothing separated them in the second set, which again went to a tiebreak, after Halys saved two match points at 5-4, with Djokovic finally prevailing when Halys netted a backhand.Djokovics reward is a clash with world number ...

11-year-old Chinese girl wins Spartan Kids world championship

An 11-year-old girl has won Chinas first gold medal in the Spartan Kids World Championship, Chinese media reported on Wednesday.The 2022 Spartan Kids World Championship for 4-14-year-olds was held in Sebring, Florida, US on December 10. More than 300 children from over 10 countries and regions, including seven from China, participated the race.In the girls 9-11 age bracket, Wang Zijin raced successfully through 27 obstacles along a 4,470-meter course of dirt, mud, grass and water crossings, the Xinhua News Agency reported.On October 30, Wang broke the record in the Deka Strong race for 10-13-year-olds. She donated the 10,000 yuan ($1,460) prize to a school for deaf and mute children.In the new year, she hopes to motivate more people in need to try out sports.As an unathletic pre-school toddler, Wang ran slowly. But her father Wang Dong, encouraged her to build strength and ability through swimming, baseball, volleyball, triathlon and parkour.(Compiled by Zhang Xinyue, edited by Huang Jingjing)

Beijing Winter Olympics press facilities named best in 2022 by AIPS

Ayumu Hirano of Japan performs a trick during the mens snowboard halfpipe final at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, February 11, 2022. (Photo: CFP)BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) has named the Beijing Winter Olympics press facilities as the best in the 2022 multi-sport events.AIPS indicated that, although Beijing 2022 was held in a bubble to avoid COVID-19 infection, it offered a top-notch main press center, which was the largest ever for a winter sport, with great efficiency.The Shougang Ski Jumping Platform is lit up at a light show in Beijing, China, December 13, 2019. (Photo: CFP)"Everything was launched by the Beijing Winter Olympic Games," read a statement from AIPS. "Then gradually came all the other events and we must say that all of them guaranteed good quality press services."An aerial view of the National Sliding Center and the Winter Olympic Village in Yanqing, January 29, 2021. (Photo: VCG)In its annual year-end poll, AIPS divides sports events into multi- and single-sport events, with the top three multi-sport events receiving the highest number of votes being the Beijing Winter Olympics, the Munich European Championships and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.The top three press facilities for single sports were the Qatar World Cup, the FINA World Championships in Budapest and the UEFA Womens Euro in England.

'It's not the end of my career': Cristiano Ronaldo unveiled by Al Nassr in grand ceremony

Cristiano Ronaldo smiles during a press conference for his official unveiling as an Al Nassr player in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 3, 2023. (Photo: CFP)For Cristiano Ronaldo, leaving widely respected English behemoth Manchester United in an acrimonious manner, only to ply his trade in the football backwater of Saudi Arabia is obviously at odds with his status as one of the best strikers in history. But the fiercely competitive five-time Ballon dOr winner, who had spent two decades being the leading talisman at some of Europes most prestigious clubs, knows only too well how to change the narrative."Im so proud to make this big decision in my life and football," said Ronaldo at his grand unveiling at Al Nassrs packed Mrsool Park stadium after signing a two-and-a-half year contract with the Saudi Arabian club. Cristiano Ronaldo waves to fans as he is unveiled as an Al Nassr player at Mrsool Park Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 3, 2023. (Photo: CFP)"I want to give a different vision of the country and the football. In Europe, my work is done. I won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. For me now, its a new challenge."The 37-year-old is reportedly set to rake in an astounding 200 million euro ($214 million) per year, which will make him the highest paid player in the history of the sport."The worlds greatest athlete, officially signed for Al Nassr," read an earlier statement from the club. "This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves."General view of pyrotechnics being used during the official unveiling of Cristiano Ronaldo as an Al Nassr player at Mrsool Park Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 3, 2023. (Photo: CFP)"For me its not the end of my career coming to Saudi Arabia," Ronaldo declared on ...

Djokovic romps in first singles clash in Australia since deportation

Novak Djokovic swept to victory in his first singles match on Australian soil since being deported a year ago, crushing Frenchman Constant Lestienne at the Adelaide International on Tuesday to kick-start his bid for another Grand Slam title.Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Constant Lestienne. (Photo: AFP) The Serbian superstar was given a warm welcome when he played a losing doubles clash on Monday and received similar treatment on a packed centre court.He won comfortably 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes, breaking once in the first set and twice in the second."For the first match I cant complain, I played very well," Djokovic said. "I thought the first probably six games were very competitive."Ive never faced him before todays match. Hes a counter-puncher. He doesnt make too many mistakes and he kind of absorbs the pace from his opponent, kind of tricky serve, hits his spots."But once I made that break at 3-2 first set I felt like I stepped it up one or two levels and played really good tennis the rest of the match."It was his first singles clash in the country after being kicked out before the 2022 Australian Open for not being vaccinated for Covid-19. Djokovic was subsequently barred from re-entering for three years.The ban was lifted in November, allowing him a chance to win an unprecedented 10th Australian Open crown at Melbourne Park later this month.Danill Medvedev, who lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final, also tasted victory, saving an incredible nine set points on his way to a 7-6 (8/6), 2-1 win over Italian Lorenzo Sonego who retired hurt.Top seed Djokovic served to love to open his account and it went with serve until he pounced in game six, working two break points with Lestienne netting a forehand to go 4-2 behind.He calmly closed out the set in 38 minutes and took full control in the second, quickly breaking twice to move 3-0 clear before cruising home.Djokovic will play another Frenchma...

Final farewell for Pele, Brazil's football 'King'

Brazilians bid a final farewell this week to football giant Pele, starting Monday with a 24-hour public wake at the stadium of his long-time team, Santos.Tributes to Pele line the route as his coffin is transferred to the city of Santos in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 2, 2023. (Photo: CFP)The oceanside home of the team nicknamed "Peixe" – "fish" in Portuguese – is expecting a huge influx of fans looking to honor the "King" of football, who died aged 82 on Thursday after a long battle with cancer.Stadium doors will open at 10:00 am local time. The coffin bearing the remains of the only player to have won three World Cups will be displayed in the center of the field.Known as Vila Belmiro after the neighborhood where it is located, the black-and-white stadium has a capacity of 16,000 people.In the stands, three giant flags could be seen Sunday, one with an image of Pele displaying the famous number 10 on his jersey. Another bore the message "Long live the king"; the third said simply, "Pele 82 years."Entry to the stadium will be allowed until 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, officials said. After that, a procession will be held through the streets of Santos, a port city about 75 kilometers from the state capital Sao Paulo.The parade will pass the house of Peles mother, 100-year-old Celeste Arantes, who is unaware that her world-famous son has died."She doesnt know," Peles sister Maria Lucia do Nascimento told ESPN on Friday. "She is not conscious."The procession will end at a cemetery in Santos, where Pele will be interred in a special mausoleum.Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele is widely considered to have been the best player yet of the beautiful game.His death sparked a global outpouring of tributes, with his native Brazil holding three days of national mourning.He scored 1,283 goals in a career of 21 years, most of them played at Santos.Wreaths of flowers left by his fans have brought a spla...

Ledecky earns AP female athlete of year for second time

Katie Ledecky of the United States reacts after setting a world record in the Womens 800m Freestyle final on Day 3 of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2022 Leg 3 at Indiana University Natatorium on Nov 5, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo: VCG)A change of scenery worked out just fine for Katie Ledecky.Shifting coasts and coaches after last summers Tokyo Olympics, the American swimmer turned in another stellar performance at the world championships, set a pair of world records and capped 2022 as The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, selected by a panel of 40 sports writers and editors from news outlets across the country.Ledecky, who previously won the award in 2017, edged out American track star Sydney McLaughlin in balloting announced Wednesday.The two tied in total points, but Ledecky got the nod based on 10 first-place votes to McLaughlins nine. Basketball standout Aja Wilson finished third."I know so many great athletes have won this honor," Ledecky said. "Im really happy — happy with how my year went, and also excited about the future."Ledecky, who won her first Olympic gold medal in 2012 at age 15, has managed to stay on top in female freestyle swimmings longest pool events for the better part of a decade.She has held the long-course world record in both the 800- and 1,500-meter free since 2013, rarely facing a serious challenge in either of those grueling races.At this years world aquatics championships in Budapest, Hungary, Ledecky touched first in the 800 by more than 10 seconds and won the 1,500 by nearly 15 seconds. She also claimed gold in the 400 free and was part of the winning U.S. team in the 4x200 free relay.Before 2022 was done, Ledecky added two more world records to her ledger. She set short-course marks in both the 800 and 1,500 a week apart — even though she rarely competes in the 25m pool.But the real enjoyment for Ledecky comes when no one is cheering her on, when its jus...

Chinese winter sports athletes aiming for 2026 Olympics

For Chinese winter sports athletes, the new ski season after Beijing 2022 is well marked as one to prepare for the next Winter Olympics.Cross-country skiing, biathlon and snowboarding athletes in northeast China's Jilin Province are polishing their skills amid frosty days and pressing for the 2026 W

Arsenal stretches EPL lead after Man City held by Everton

LONDON — Arsenal couldnt have asked for a much better end to the year.The Gunners stretched their Premier League lead to seven points with a 4-2 win at Brighton on Saturday, having seen their two closest challengers — Manchester City and Newcastle — both drop points earlier in the day. Arsenals English midfielder Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on December 31, 2022. (Photo: Agencies)Perhaps its really time to start believing for a team that hasnt won the league title since the unbeaten "Invincibles" did so in 2004."Of course at the start of the season if you asked us if we wanted this (position at New Years) we would bite your hand off," said Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka, who netted the first goal against Brighton after little more than a minute. "It is a great opportunity we have, and its a great place we have put ourselves in."Martin Odegaard and Eddie Nketiah also scored to put Arsenal 3-0 up by the 47th and seemingly cruising to an easy win, but the visitors still endured an unnecessarily nervy finish as Brightons resistance only ended when an 89th-minute goal that would have made it 4-3 was ruled out for offside after a VAR check.That helped Mikel Artetas side take full advantage of Citys slip-up earlier in the day, when another goal from Erling Haaland wasnt enough to prevent the defending champion from being held to a 1-1 home draw by Everton thanks to a stunning equalizer from Demarai Gray. Third-place Newcastle also saw a six-game winning streak end with a 0-0 draw against Leeds.Manchester United climbed into the top four for the first time this season thanks to Marcus Rashford, who was dropped to the bench for disciplinary reasons but came on to secure a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton.Rashford was drop...

China's Sun Yingsha becomes first post-2000 ITTF year-end world No. 1

Sun Yingsha of China plays during the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu, southwest Chinas Sichuan Province, October 5, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Chinas Sun Yingsha has made history by becoming the first post-2000 player to finish as the year-end world No. 1 in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world rankings.Born in 2000, Sun rose to top of the world rankings on January 30 for the first time. She topped the recently-released year-end world rankings with 8,270 points.The 22-year-old won titles at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Champions Macao and WTT Cup Finals in October, after helping China claim their fifth consecutive womens title at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu, southwest Chinas Sichuan Province."Starting the year as world No. 1 will be a new kind of pressure for Sun Yingsha. At just 22, Suns career is just getting started," read a WTT article on its website.Sun was followed by teammates Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi. Japanese duo Mima Ito and Hina Hayata ranked fifth and sixth respectively. Other players among world top 10 are Chen Xingtong (China), Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), Doo Hoi Kem (Chinas Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) and Han Ying (Germany).Fan Zhendong of China serves during the China National Table Tennis Championship in Huangshi, central Chinas Hubei Province, November 12, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Reigning world champion Fan Zhendong of China led the mens singles world rankings with 7,700 points in the final edition of 2022."The last 12 months has been full of highs for Fan. When the biggest stage called the world No. 1 answered," said the WTT.Japans Tomokazu Harimoto followed in second. Chinas Ma Long and Wang Chuqin were placed third and fourth respectively.Other top 10 male paddlers include Truls Moregard (Sweden), Liang Jingkun (China), Hugo Calderano (Brazil), Lin Yun-ju (Chinese Taipei), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany) and Darko...

Nation's soccer fans mourn legend Pele

Credited for enlightening a country on the beauty of the beautiful game, Brazilian soccer legend Pele's death has set off widespread mourning in China, as his unparalleled career was celebrated and fondly remembered.Pele died on Thursday age 82 in a hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after a long battle

LeBron's 47 points on 38th birthday spark Lakers to NBA win

LeBron James celebrated his 38th birthday by scoring a season-high 47 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and adding nine assists to spark the Los Angeles Lakers to a 130-121 victory in Atlanta on Friday.Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James drives against Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongwu during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, in Atlanta. (Photo: AP)It was his first 40-point effort of the season, the second achieved in a birthday contest and the 70th 40-point performance of his spectacular 20-season NBA career.Even more amazing, teammates were congratulating him for saying before the game he would deliver a 40-point birthday beatdown against the Hawks."I called it," James said. "I told them before the game. I had to make it happen. After starting 1-for-5 I didnt know if it was going to happen."James, playing his third game in four nights, actually began shooting 1-for-6 but finished 18-of-27 from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and 7-of-9 from the free throw line."I didnt even know it was three in four nights. I just knew I had to get my mind and body ready to go," James said. "Make sure my body stays fresh but my mind more importantly."James became only the fourth player in NBA history to score 45 points in a game at age 38 or older, joining Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamal Crawford.The Hawks, powered by 29 points from Trae Young, led by as many as 15 points in the first half before James rallied the Lakers, scoring 16 points in the second and fourth quarters and 13 in the third.The only birthday contest in which James scored more points was when he got 48 against Atlanta in 2009.James, only one assist shy of the NBAs first birthday triple double, is on pace to overtake Abdul-Jabbar and become the NBAs all-time scoring leader in February.The Lakers (15-21) were without star big man Anthony Davis, out with a foot injury.Having his wife, mother and many other...

The world reacts to Pele's death

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Following are reactions to the death of Brazilian football legend Pele. The only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times died aged 82 on Thursday after a battle with cancer.People stand near the Israelita Albert Einstein Hospital where former Brazilian football star Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, died in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Dec. 29, 2022. Pele, three-time World Cup champion, died on Thursday at the age of 82 in the hospital, victim of colon cancer, his doctors officially reported. (Photo: Xinhua)FIFA PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO"His legacy is impossible to summarize in words."To his family and friends, to CBF (Brazilian football federation), to Brazil and to all football fans who loved him so much, I express my sincere condolences."Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pele, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity."BRAZIL PRESIDENT JAIR BOLSONARO"Sorrow for the passing of a man, who through football took the name of Brazil to the world. He turned football into art and joy."LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF BRAZIL"I had the privilege that younger Brazilians didnt have: I saw Pele play, live, at Pacaembu and Morumbi. Play, no. I saw Pele give a show. Because when he got the ball he always did something special, which often ended up in a goal."FORMER BRAZIL STRIKER RONALDO"Unique. Genius. Technical. Creative. Perfect. Unequalled. Where Pele has gone, he has stayed. Never having left the top, he leaves us today. The king of football - one and only. The greatest of all time."BRAZIL WORLD CUP WINNER RIVALDO"Our football is known and respected worldwide for everything he did on the pitch and this will never be forgotten. I am proud to have played in two World Cups with the number 10, which was consecrated by him."FORMER BRAZIL MIDFIELDER KAKA"Thank you King Pele."Muc...

Cristiano Ronaldo makes big-money move to Saudi Arabian club

AhandoutpicturereleasedbySaudiArabia'sAlNassrfootballclubontheirTwitteraccountshowsPortugal'sforwardCristianoRonaldobeingpresentedwiththeclub'snumbersevenjerseybyclubpresidentMusalliAl-MuammarinMadridonDecember30,2022uponsigningfortheSaudiArabianclub。

Lewandowski available after court temporarily suspends 3-game ban

MADRID, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski will be able to play against Espanyol in Saturdays La Liga derby after a court in Madrid granted him a temporary reprieve from a three-game ban.(File photo: Xinhua) Lewandowski was sent off in Barcelonas 2-1 win at Osasuna in November and was thus given a one-game ban that was extended for two more games after he made further gestures towards match officials.The Spanish Football Federations appeal committee rejected his first appeal, and the Administrative Sports Tribunal in Spain also rejected Barcas appeals.However, on Friday, the Central Litigation Court in Madrid accepted the appeal and temporarily suspended the ban "provisionally until the definitive resolution is solid."The striker was also due to miss matches against Atletico Madrid and Getafe.

China's Sun becomes first post-2000 ITTF year-end world No. 1

BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinas Sun Yingsha has made history by becoming the first post-2000 player to finish as the year-end world No. 1 in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world rankings.Sun Yingsha in action during the WTT Champions Macao womens semifinal in Macao, China, October 22, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Born in 2000, Sun rose to top of the world rankings on January 30 for the first time. She topped the recently-released year-end world rankings with 8,270 points.The 22-year-old won titles at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Champions Macao and WTT Cup Finals in October, after helping China claim its fifth consecutive womens title at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu, southwest Chinas Sichuan Province."Starting the year as world No. 1 will be a new kind of pressure for Sun Yingsha. At just 22, Suns career is just getting started," read a WTT article on its website.Sun was followed by teammates Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi. Japanese duo Mima Ito and Hina Hayata ranked fifth and sixth respectively. Other players among world top 10 are Chen Xingtong (China), Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong, China) and Han Ying (Germany).Reigning world champion Fan Zhendong of China led the mens singles world rankings with 7,700 points in the final edition of 2022."The last 12 months has been full of highs for Fan. When the biggest stage called the world No. 1 answered," said the WTT.Japans Tomokazu Harimoto followed in second. Chinas Ma Long and Wang Chuqin were placed third and fourth respectively.Other top 10 male paddlers include Truls Moregard (Sweden), Liang Jingkun (China), Hugo Calderano (Brazil), Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany) and Darko Jorgic (Slovenia).

Former US Open champion Thiem handed Australian Open wildcard

Former world number three Dominic Thiem was handed a wildcard to the Australian Open Friday, as he continues his comeback from a serious wrist injury.Dominic Thiem during his match against Alexander Zverev in their semi-final match during Day Seven of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena in London, England, November 16, 2019. (Photo: VCG)The Austrian, who pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets in the 2020 Australian Open final, was sidelined for nine months with the injury sustained during the 2021 grass-court season.He has shown encouraging signs on his return to the tour, rising from outside the top 350 to 102 in the second half of this year, including semi-final runs at Gstaad, Gijon and Antwerp.His rapid ranking rise meant the 29-year-old only narrowly missed directly qualifying for the main draw of the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on January 16.Thiem, a two-time French Open runner-up, won the US Open in 2020.Other wildcards went to American pair Taylor Townsend and Christopher Eubanks, and French players Diane Parry and Luca Van Assche.

Li Sun appointed chief coach of China's table tennis team

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Li Sun has been appointed chief coach of Chinas national table tennis team, after a three-day coach selection and communication meeting concluded on Thursday.File photo: CFPLi, 59, has mentored Grand Slam winners Wang Nan, Zhang Yining and Li Xiaoxia during his coaching career, and has been head coach of Chinas womens team since 2017.World champion Wang Hao was named mens head coach, and Olympic gold medalist Ma Lin was appointed head coach of the womens squad. Veteran coach Xiao Zhan will lead the mixed doubles coaching group.A total of 31 coaches participated in the presentation on Wednesday and Thursday. 24 were named in the list of national team coaches.On Tuesday, over 100 coaches in national and provincial teams exchanged ideas on team building, athlete management system, training methods and talent development."The coach selection and communication activity over the past three days offers an opportunity for coaches across the country to exchange ideas. Through this we can truly recruit and develop talents, and make Chinese table tennis prosper for the long term," commented Li.Wang said he had learned a lot from communicating with other coaches. "Everyone is fully ready to embrace new challenges, and I will go all out to make contributions for the sport of table tennis," he said."Being a national team coach is a great honor for everyone involved in table tennis," said Ma."The Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) organized this coach selection and communication activity with the aim of preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Those coaches applied for positions and learned from each other as well. Sharing knowledge is the biggest treasure of the Chinese table tennis team," concluded CTTA president Liu Guoliang.

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