Double Olympic medalist Ai Fukuhara said Tuesday the weight of announcing her retirement has lifted after being lauded for her nearly 20-year career as a professional table tennis player.
«After various people told me they appreciated me, I felt lighter. Now it’s clear,» Fukuhara said, speaking to the press for the first time since she announced her retirement on her blog Sunday.
Fukuhara, nicknamed «Ai-chan,» rose to fame as a child prodigy after turning professional at age 10. A four-time Olympian, she won a team silver medal at the 2012 London Games and a bronze two years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
She married Taiwanese table tennis player Chiang Hung-chieh after the Rio Games, and has not competed since giving birth to their daughter a year ago.
Fukuhara, who turns 30 next month, said she still wants to contribute to the world of table tennis «if it is needed.»
All — Kyodo News+