NI Xia Lian still in winning modePhoto: ITTF
2016 Rio Olympic Games
At age of 53, NI Xia Lian of Luxembourg is still dangerous for most of the players at the top. Today, in the Women’s Singles Event at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games she booked her place among top 32 players. On her way to the third round NI beat SHEN Yanfei of Spain in full seven games thriller (12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 6-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7).
“I didn’t expect to go so far here in Rio. It was a difficult match against SHEN Yanfei, I had many opportunities in the games to win, but I missed that. Many times in the past, I would have lost the match totally, but today I held on to the big opportunity to win it. Mentally I think I’m stronger today, and my experience helped too. I implemented my tactics well in the match, and I had to believe in myself.”
Speaking about the match NI added:
“I lost few games because I was too eager to win, but I’m not young anymore, I have to accept the situation I am in. If I’m still 20 years younger, I would have taken every chance to end the match faster, but I’m not anymore, my body can’t keep up with my strategies and tactics, and I need to adapt and play slower games and be more passive in my play. It’s like walking on thin ice, it’s not easy.”
Still, the experience can not help when it comes to excitement that Olympics bring.
“I still feel tired from my matches yesterday, and last night I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited.”
About her next match against FENG Tianwei NI was realistic.
“Everybody is so good here, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to challenge them. It’s fun and wonderful, I will try my best! I’m fully motivated. FENG Tianwei is very good! She’s the 2010 World Team Champion, and has beaten the world number one several times before. She’s very strong and consistent. She’s a professional, I’m a housewife, but I enjoy it. I have my family and supportive team to motivate me.”