Ten Chinese stars missing at Tokyo Olympics

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The Chinese delegation was unveiled on Wednesday, gearing up for the start of the 32nd Olympic Games, which is to open in Tokyo on July 23, a year behind its original schedule.

But several celebrated names among the Chinese athletes will be absent due to various reasons. Below are 10 stars who will not appear in Tokyo.

Lin Dan (Badminton)

Chinese badminton icon Lin, who had planned to make his fifth Olympic appearance in Tokyo, announced his retirement last summer, saying that it would be too much to ask from his 37-year-old body.

China's Lin Dan returns a shot during the men's singles first round match with Thailand's Kunlavut Vitidsarn at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham, Britain, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Tang Shi/Xinhua)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) referred to Lin when reporting the news as the "all-time great" of the sport. The double Olympic champion, dubbed "Super Dan," still remains the only men's singles player to retain the Olympic gold medal and a record five World championships.

Ding Ning (Table Tennis)

Ding's absence is not unexpected, given her ups and downs since 2020. The reigning women's singles champion, who had completed a grand slam of titles after winning the Rio Olympic gold medal, has been preparing for a role change in her life. The 30-year-old multiple world and Olympic champion will become a full-time student at the prestigious Peking University in the sports master's degree program.

Ding Ning returns the ball during the women's singles Top 4-seed battle against Sun Yingsha of China at World Table Tennis (WTT) Macao 2020 Tournament in Macao, Nov. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

Ding currently occupies fifth place on the ITTF rankings. Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, who take the first and third respectively, represent China in women's singles in Tokyo.

Zhang Mengxue (Shooting)

The 30-year-old female shooter won the first gold medal for China at the 2016 Rio Games as she finished the women's 10m air pistol final with an Olympic record of 199.4 points. Still, the veteran won't show up in Tokyo after losing her slot to younger teammates in the Chinese shooting team Olympic qualification series.

China will send a squad with an average age under 25 to compete in pistol and rifle events.

Ye Shiwen (Swimming)

Ye's attempt to compete in Tokyo was also thwarted due to qualification trouble. The 2012 Olympic gold winner in women's 200m and 400m medley didn't attain the Olympic qualifying time in trials.

Ye Shiwen of China greets the audience after the women's 400m medley preliminary at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, July 28, 2019. (Xinhua/Tao Xiyi)

"Generation Z" swimmers will lead China in the female events in Tokyo as the average age of the team is only 20.3.

Deng Wei (Weightlifting)

The Olympic gold medalist in Rio 2016 has been left out of the roster as a waist injury mars her performance. The 28-year-old went to the Asian Weightlifting Championships, which concluded in Tashkent in April but didn't compete due to the injury.

Deng is also the reigning world record holder of women's 64kg.

Tang Jiali (Football)

Tang's absence is also a result of injuries. The powerful striker in China's football national women's team appeared in the 26-player provisional roster but was dropped out after failing to recuperate in time from a knee injury.

Jia Xiuquan, head coach of the Chinese national team, expressed confidence in Tang's future. "She still has a long way to go, and I hope she focuses on her recovery right now," said Jia.

Tang played a vital role in China's aggregated win against South Korea in the Olympic qualification playoffs. She was also among the 10 candidates of the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Best Women's Player in 2020 award.

Zhang Shuai (Tennis)

The former Chinese number one in women's singles will not hit the road for her third Olympic journey. The 32-year-old made the last eight at Wimbledon in 2019 and reached the quarterfinals of a major for the first time at the 2016 Australian Open. She also made the final four in this year's Wimbledon mixed doubles.

Lin Li (Volleyball)

Lin was part of the China women's national volleyball team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games. She also won the 2016 World Grand Prix Best Libero award. The 29-year-old hasn't been in good form since Rio and has been replaced by the rising star Wang Mengjie.

Duobujie (Marathon)

The 27-year-old Asian Games bronze medalist Duobujie missed the podium in the Olympic trials, failing to clinch a berth into Tokyo although he had met the Olympic entry standards.

"There is still time, and we are still looking forward to making breakthroughs for China," said Duobujie's coach Gesang Tsering.

Growing up a shepherd boy in Tibet Autonomous Region in Southwest China, Duobujie has emerged as one of the top runners in China thanks to the Chinese Athletics Association's training program designed for athletes from highland regions. During the 2016 Rio Games, Duobujie became the first athlete from Tibet to contest in track and field at the Olympics.

Zhong Qixin (Sport Climbing)

Zhong is China's undisputed leader in speed climbing. Still, his weakness in lead climbing and bouldering makes him less competitive for the Tokyo Olympics, where the three disciplines will be combined into one set of medals per gender. The cancellation of the 2020 IFSC Asian Championships, where two Olympic quotas were supposed to be awarded, also upset his plan.

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

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