May 11 (Reuters) - World number one Ding Ning will replace Guo Yan in China’s table tennis women’s team for this year’s London Olympics, the sport’s world ruling body said.
Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yan had originally sealed the two spaces available in the singles by virtue of their world rankings after occupying the top two spots last June, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said.
However, with Guo suffering from an undisclosed injury, the 21-year-old Ding, who took over the top ranking in November, will join Li in the singles and team events at the London Games, which take place from July 27 to Aug. 12.
“The decision was confirmed by the Chinese National Olympic Committee on May 9,” the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said on its official website (www.ittf.com).
Each ITTF member association is permitted a maximum of two players by ranking in the singles and three in the team event. Guo Yan’s place in the team event will be taken by former world champion Guo Yue.
Ding, who captured last year’s world singles title in Rotterdam, has risen from third to first in the rankings over the past year.
Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by John O'Brien