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article imageChinese Ping Pong Player Allowed to Have a Girlfriend

By Kevin Jess     Sep 2, 2009 in Sports
The reigning table tennis world champion with two Olympic silver medals under his belt is now permitted to have a girlfriend.
Wang Hao, 26, was banned from dating until recently, when national team officials permitted his relationship with former national teammate, 23-year-old Peng Luyang, reports the state owned China Daily.
The reigning world champ fell foul of the administration six years ago when he started going out with fellow national team player Fan Ying. However, this time, he has the blessing of team officials.
National team leader Huang Biao said to China Daily, "The national team has some rules with relationships between young players and we suggest that they don't get involved in love affairs under 24 years of age or it's likely to affect their training."
Peng's coach, Qiao Yunping said, "Both of them are old enough and it's normal. We are focusing on training for the National Games now and such affairs won't affect us."
At the beginning of 2004, Wang's former girlfriend, Fan, together with Bai Yang and Li Nan from the women's team and Hou Yingchao from the men's contingent were dropped from the national squad for engaging in romantic relationships with other players.
Under the strict watchful eye of team officials, star athletes are often banned from dating or marrying until a certain age, restricted in endorsement contracts and sometimes have a large percentage of their winnings taken away reports Associated Press.
Wang Hao became the World Champion in Men's Singles in Yokohama, Japan in May 2009 defeating 3-time World Champion Wang Liqin 4-0.
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