National paddler Yang Zi has decided to call it quits from professional table tennis after failing to completely recover from persisting neck injury.
The 32-year-old said he was disappointed to have ended his career early but that he is looking forward to grooming young talents in the country. Notably, the number two-ranked Singapore paddler will join his parents' coaching academy in the near future.
Yang appeared in his first professional tournament at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Pro Tour in 2004 and has been a solid performer for the republic, winning multiple honours at international competitions. The highest point of his career came when he partnered with Gao Ning to win Singapore a doubles gold at the Asian Championships after 58 years in 2012.
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, Yang made merry by winning four medals including three golds (singles, mixed doubles, team) and a silver (men's doubles). He continued his form until the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and won a gold (team) and bronze (doubles). He was part of Singapore's team at 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams as well. Singapore reached the quarter-final in London only to lose to eventual gold medallists, China.
Yang revealed that he had been undergoing rehabilitation for his troublesome neck injury but was not able to make full recovery. He also said that he has equipped himself for coaching by completing the ITTF course.
"Unfortunately, my neck has been degenerating and I have undergone rehabilitation for several months now but there is still no improvement, so I am left with no choice but to retire from professional table tennis," Yang Zi said in a statement released by Singapore Table Tennis Association, as quoted by The New Paper.
"While I'm disappointed that my table tennis career has come to an end, I am excited about what lies ahead. I have recently completed the ITTF coaching course and I will be joining my parents' table tennis academy to help Singapore groom more young talents."