We look back on the life and career of the four-time Olympian and one of Singapore's most high-profile athletes ever
With her tears, not to mention 18 years of serving Singapore’s table tennis, Li Jiawei made a successful last-gasp push to become xinmsn Sports’ Person of the Week.
Announcing her retirement at the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s (STTA) Toa Payoh headquarters yesterday, the five-time Sportswoman of the Year squeezed out, at least on our terms, Sachin Tendulkar’s equally momentous ODI retirement and Gareth Bale’s superhuman Boxing Day effort this week.
31 years of age, Li called time on her career after a persistent knee injury post-London Olympics. In the wake of teammate Wang Yuegu’s retirement, there had been speculation Li would follow suit.
“This was a very difficult decision to come to and I was feeling very down for a period of time. Even now, I still don’t want to leave,” she told local media at the press conference.
“It’s impossible to describe my feelings now in just one or two sentences.
“I am very grateful to the STTA and to Singapore for the opportunities they have given me and I hope to contribute back to the country in whatever I do in the future.”
As the face of local table tennis for a good part of the last decade, the Beijing native has been the subject of both adulation and criticism, of which the latter was mostly linked to her ’foreign talent’ status. According to the Straits Times, her estimated $1.27 million in earnings make her the most financially successful Singapore athlete.
From Olympic singles heartbreak twice to a very public and stormy romance with Ronald Susilo, we look back on the eventful career of Li Jiawei.