Hiroshi Shibutani, a three-time Olympian and winner of the bronze medal in men’s doubles at the 1997 World Championships, said Tuesday he will call it a career after the ongoing table tennis national championships.
The 37-year-old Shibutani, who has not taken part in international events since 2002, cited a nagging right knee injury as one of the reasons for his decision to leave competitive play after the Jan. 11-16 tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
“It’s been 30 years since I started playing table tennis, and I thought it’s about time to retire,” said Shibutani, who represented Japan in the Olympics in Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Shibutani paired with Koji Matsushita and advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles. Three years later he won his first national title in singles to follow in the footsteps of his father and 1959 winner Goro.
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