“Ma Long is old, can still fight?”

Turn back the clock to the night of the 22nd, the star-studded FIVB finals, which was the third time this year that Ma Long faced the fatty Fan Zhendong, who was in his prime. And in the previous finals of the National Championships and World Cup, he lost 3:4 to his opponent. Plus the previous game with Zhang Ben Zhihe, Dako, and other players are also playing stumbling, very difficult, a time, “Ma Long is old, still able to fight or not” doubts crept up on the minds of fans.

Ma Long

However, Ma Long soundly defeated Fan Zhendong with a big score of 4:1, so that all the doubts are dissipated. The moment he won the championship, Ma Long threw away his racket and looked up to the sky, as if he was announcing his return asking to the world! For the introverted Ma Long, this kind of unbridled catharsis in his career is also few and far between.

After 538 days, Ma Long finally stood on the podium of the champion once again. And in the background waiting for the award, Ma Long leaned against the wall and looked at the sky, red eyes, muttered: “feel like a dream, I do not know if it is a dream.” This championship means a lot to him, it’s the light that cuts through the long dark years of fighting with injuries.

Yes, it was not until after the finals, the State disclosed Ma Long underwent surgery and insisted on rehab after surgery, many fans learned that in order to return to the field, Ma Long has experienced what; in order to win, Ma Long has paid what ……

Last August, due to the long-term strain and calcification of the left leg and knee, the injury attack even in sleep will wake up in pain, so Ma Long made a major choice – to go to the United States for surgery. At that time, the new crown epidemic had not yet broken out, and it was only one year before the planned Tokyo Olympics, and the difficulty of knee surgery was very high, and the risk was not small. It can be said that Ma Long is to take the rest of his career, to do a desperate gamble – a successful surgery, the legend continues; surgery failed, the hero falls.

Before the surgery, Ma Long will keep the Rio Olympics when the “handsome iron bangs” cut off, directly shaved a bald head, to show their determination to “start again from scratch”. What “Grand Slam”, “Grand Slam” titles, 24 world championships, 28 open championships …… have been put behind Ma Long. -The honor can only represent the past, and Ma Long would like to continue to move forward.

Fortunately, the surgery was very successful. Therefore, in the interviews after the last few games, “lucky” has become a high-frequency word that Ma Long often uses. Ma Long is very grateful and content with his fate, but what supports his gradual recovery in various tournaments and his return to the championship step by step is his love and dedication to the sport of table tennis.

Ma Long

It is always the word that is easy to say, but the most difficult to do. The simple word rehabilitation, for people who have not had major surgery, it may be difficult to understand the torment. But I, having had the misfortune to experience a broken thigh when I was a child, may try to understand what it’s like.

The first is the simple burning pain left on the flesh by the surgery, the pain to the bone after the anesthetic has worn off, the kind of pain I never want to experience again in my life. Then I lay in a hospital bed for three or four months, spending lonely time in a small enclosed space every day, watching the muscles of my thighs shrink day by day at a rate visible to the naked eye. Then it was crutches, re-learning to walk, from the beginning a few steps, a dozen steps, slowly increasing the number, and constantly reduce the dependence on crutches, and finally to leave the crutches “escort”, with the strength of their own legs to walk independently again. And at this point, most of the time has passed.

For ordinary people like me, rehabilitation can be considered to be over, life will slowly change back to the old way. But for Ma Long, this level of rehabilitation is still far from over, if the Tokyo Olympics is not postponed, then his remaining rehabilitation time is less than six months. For those who know something about medicine, you will know that the impact of injury to the joints on athletic ability is only much greater than the impact of non-joints.

But Ma Long still has to compete with the best group of athletes in the world on the field, and he who has just regained his ability to walk may not even be physically fit enough to compete with an uninjured ordinary person. Therefore, after returning home, in addition to daily training, day after day alone to the gym to add strength training, Ma Long is with their own self-discipline and persistence, silently against the boring and exhausting.

Injuries are always the natural enemy of athletes. The biggest torment for athletes is not the physical pain, but the endless torture that leaves a “I used to be able to” in the mind, the feeling of powerlessness that all that once had, like the clenched grains of sand, slowly dissipates from the fingers. This kind of mental torture, I do not know how many excellent athletes in the encounter with injury have been devastated, the peak is no longer.

“The sky is healthy, the gentleman to self-improvement.” Malone is the perfect interpreter of this phrase.

Physical injuries can still be slowly recuperated and rehabilitated by themselves, but finding the feeling of the game requires a suitable opponent, an open platform and a tranquil environment. However, the sudden new crown pneumonia epidemic disrupted Ma Long’s rhythm of returning to the field. It wasn’t until August this year that the Olympic mock tournament in Guoping became the first open tournament after the outbreak, however, a few days before the tournament, Ma Long accidentally sprained his neck again and had to regretfully withdraw from the tournament.

So, after the National Championships, the World Cup and the finals, Ma Long could be said to have gone on the court for high-level, high-intensity confrontation matches without any “warm-up”. The first game was very unsatisfactory, due to the knee surgery footwork was affected, resulting in a significant hole in the forehand position, the former strong point has become a weak point, so Ma Long is very uncomfortable. But Ma Long has always been persistent in finding a way, has not given up the pursuit of victory, which is most evident in the focus of the battle with Zhang Ben Zhihe.

That game was one of the most heart-wrenching games I’ve seen this year. When Ma Long was down 1:3, the fifth set started badly, I was almost ready to turn off the screen. The sad feeling of the hero’s twilight, in my heart, can not stop. Fortunately, Ma Long found a tiny breakthrough from the high toss serve and narrowly achieved a big comeback. After that, Ma Long played better than one game, and finally “revenge” small fat, back to the top. In the WTT tournament in Macau, which started in two days, Ma Long also continued his good athletic performance.

You have overcome a lot of difficulties, fate will give you a lot of rewards. When Ma Long got the title of his sixth final, I believe he will have more confidence and vision for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Ma Long is lucky to be back in the game, and we are lucky to be able to continue to enjoy the “limited edition” matches that the Dragons play one game less. Good luck to Ma Long, I hope his hard work and perseverance will make him leave a more exciting story on the stage of Tokyo Olympic Games!

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