The Olympic Games is the ultimate dream of every athlete. The flags, the songs, the cheers, and the tears. Every little aspect of the competition gives a different feel for everyone. However, the Olympics is also a brutal competition that can either make or break an athlete.
As the head coach of the Chinese National Team, Liu Guoliang considers Germany, South Korea and Japan to be their strongest rivals in London. These three teams have the comprehensive strength that can threaten the strongest team in the world big time.
In the Olympics, Liu Guoliang believes that the likes of Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Jun Mizutani, Koki Niwa, Joo Sae Hyuk, Ryu Seung Min and Oh Sang Eun all have the potential to make a breakthrough. Technically and physically, they can be equally strong with the Chinese players and eventually inflict pressure.
However, there is one more factor that needs to be addressed and that is the psychological strength. For Liu Guoliang it is the most important thing to possess in the upcoming Olympic Games.
"I think that the most important thing for Chinese athletes is the mental strength. Since our players have the strongest techniques and capacity in the world, our opponents can really take advantage and inflict great pressure on us especially in big competitions like the Olympics. The critical part for us lies in overcoming one's self and allow their true level of performance to come out." Liu Guoliang said.
Looking from the comprehensive ability, Liu Guoliang's Olympic delegates Zhang Jike, Wang Hao and Ma Long are the strongest. They are at the top three spots in the world right now. However, two of these players have been victimized by weak mental strength.
Wang Hao, in two ocassions, failed to clinch the Olympic gold medal. In Athens, he lost to South Korean Ryu Seung Min and also lost to his teammate Ma Lin in Beijing. As for Ma Long, the most recent examples are his losses against much lower ranked players Koki Niwa and Lee Sang Su.
With this, Liu Guoliang wants his players to be fully equipped as possible. "In our last stage of our preparation for the London Olympics, we will definitely take unconventional means to enhance our psychological quality just like in 2008. Because we usually win more, we usually win easily. However, at the same time, the psychological pressure and burdens become heavier. These are the pros and cons." Liu Guoliang added.
"The Olympics is not entirely about technical skills. These are not the deciding factors of the contest. It is the psychological strength that really matters. If you are not guaranteed to have a strong heart, then the Olympic Games is not guaranteed either." Liu Guoliang concluded.
Meanwhile, let us see Ma Long's match against Lee Sang Su in the recent 2012 Korea Open where he was blocked in the early round of Round 16. Do you think it was mainly due to poor mental strength?
Ma Long vs Lee Sang Su 2012 Korea Open
video kindly shared by TTPoster
Photo source: zimbio.com