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Table tennis: Ai Fukuhara feels «lighter» after retirement announcement

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+

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