Ma Lin sets sights on 4th Paralympic gold

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China's three-time Paralympic gold medalist table tennis player, Ma Lin, announced on Wednesday that, despite not having the best preparation, he will be going for gold at the 2016 Paralympics which will be officially inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

Before even starting to train for Rio 2016, the defending Paralympic champion from Heilongjiang had to recover from a knee injury sustained after the World Championships in 2014.

"While I was recovering (in 2015), I ate a lot of food to get the nutrition I needed to properly recover, and I couldn't move, work out and train as much as I used to," Ma told the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Media Center.

Once his knee had recovered Lin had to concentrate on losing all the weight he had previously put on.

"In preparation for the Rio Paralympics, I've had to lose the 45 pounds that I gained during recovery. As a result. I'm also at a better place psychologically," Ma told the IPC.

These will be Ma's third Paralympic Games since making his debut at Beijing 2008 and he feels that he now sees the Games differently.

"It (Beijing 2008) was my first time. I was nervous and there was a lot of pressure, but it was different. Back then, I was taking charge, I was attacking," said the 26-year-old table tennis veteran.

"I wanted to make a name for myself, so I put pressure on myself. This time, the expectations and the pressure to perform well are coming from outside," added Ma.

Upon winning gold at London 2012 in both the men's singles class 9 and team events, Ma said he feels even more pressure now than he did before because back in 2012 he told himself that if he didn't play well there would always be the next Games. However, these are now the "next Games."

Ma also spoke to IPC about this year's Chinese team in general.

"We have a longstanding tradition of dominating the sport, so the national team can pride itself on its great technique and training programs in both Olympic and Paralympic table tennis," said Ma.

"Compared to other countries, our training is more strategic and focuses on little details that end up going a long way. That usually gives us more speed than competitors from other countries. On the other hand, we might come up short in strength compared to the Europeans," added the Paralympic athlete.

"We will see if the hard work pays off in Rio. Sometimes, winning also has to do with luck," said Ma.

Para table tennis will kick off from Sept. 8 to 17 at the Riocentro - Pavilion 3 with the men's class 9 singles final scheduled to take place on Sept. 11.

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