Liu Guoliang retired in June 2002 and continued to serve the National Team as the assistant coach. 10 months after his 27th birthday, Liu Guoliang became the youngest head coach in the team's history. Liu Guoliang's heights were both unexpected and reasonable.
In 2004 World Team Championships in Doha, Liu Guoliang led the Chinese Team to achieving the championships and for the 14th time, China's name was engraved in the Swaythling Cup. Since then, the trophy was not given to the different hands. Similarly, the Chinese Men Team also ruled in the individual events of the World Championship as well as in the World Cup events.
In the Olympic platform, China lost one Singles gold medal and that was in 2004 Athens Olympic Games. In the competition, Wang Hao lost to South Korean Ryu Seung in the finals and China eventually settled for the silver medal.
Four years ago, the Chinese Men Team returned with a vengeance. With the home court advantage, China got two gold medals in the Beijing Olympics for the Team and Singles event. As the head coach that time, Liu Guoliang can't help but reveal his true emotions while witnessing the Chinese flag being raised in the highest position and their National Anthem being played twice.
"As the National Sport, table tennis is really a symbol of victory and honor. As a part of the National Team, I need to bear two things: First, the special honor and the second one is special pressure."
Whether as a coach or as a player, table tennis and his motherland have never been separated for Liu Guoliang. This mind set has indeed led Liu Guoliang into the success in anything that he does. In the upcoming 2012 London Olympics, the continuous glory of China in table tennis is still their primary motivating factor to continue working hard and once again reign supreme in the National Sport.
Photo source: focus.titan24.com