Table tennis legend Liu Guoliang to become online sports commentator
Liu Guoliang, former head coach of the Chinese national table tennis team, is set to try out a new role: a sports commentator.
The 41-year-old Liu, who stepped down last June after four years as head coach, said earlier this week that he will commentate live on Zhibo TV, a Chinese online broadcast network, during the ITTF Team World Cup to be held in London from February 22 to 25.
"I'm quite worried about falling behind the times. So I'm willing to try different things," Liu said.
Despite China's all-conquering performance in table tennis, Liu has been long bothered by the difficulties in promoting the sport among youth.
The events that have played out since the Rio 2016 Olympic Games paint Liu in an entirely new light. Along with his players, Liu enjoyed an unexpected popularity online, largely thanks to their unique personalities on and off the court. The booming new meida industry has spurred Liu to get involved in live streaming.
"I've seen its potential. It has great influence nowadays, and has become mainstream among the new generation," Liu said.
Liu, who won the singles and doubles gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said he hopes the new platform will shed light on the development of table tennis in a more interactive way.
Led by Olympic and World champion Ding Ning, the Chinese team will try to defend their titles at the ITTF Team World Cup which also feature 11 other top teams like Germany and South Korea.
His debut as an online sports commentator starts on February 24.