Liu Shiwen, pictured in April, is the women's world number one in table tennis but will not be on the China team at the Olympics in Rio (Photo: AFP)
China have slammed the Olympic door shut on women's table tennis world number one Liu Shiwen, saying she's too inconsistent for the Rio Games.
Liu, 25, paid the price for a shock defeat at the Asian qualifying tournament in April, when she was stunned by Hong Kong's Doo Hoi-kem.
Olympic title-holder Li Xiaoxia will defend her women's singles title, while world champion Ding Ning beat Liu to the second spot in China's team.
The snub means that Liu will have to watch from afar as dominant China seek their third straight clean sweep at the Olympics in August.
"The defeat in the Asian regional qualifier was a pity for me," she said, according to Xinhua news agency.
"Of course it’s not that by winning the (qualifying) title I would definitely be able to participate, but if I had played a bit better, the possibility of participating would have been even greater."
It echoes a similar situation at the 2012 Olympics, when China controversially left out the popular Ma Long after a dip in form before the London Games.
China have an embarrassment of riches in table tennis, and after winning 24 gold medals at seven Olympics, they can afford to be selective.
According to the International Table Tennis Federation, quoting China's women's coach Kong Linghui, Liu missed out because of her defeats to foreign players, while Ding got the nod because of her "consistent good performance".
"Selecting Ding Ning was primarily because of her stability," acknowledged Liu.
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