“Don’t be afraid of the past and the future!,” the sprint freestyle ace said on Weibo today, March 6th, which also happens to be his birthday. “I’m saying good-bye to the swimming pool and blue water to restart my own new life.
“Thank you my dear fans. I wish you all the best. The way to success is never easy, push yourself and DO NOT SETTLE.”
Ning has had a tumultuous career, starting with a one-year suspension in 2011 after having tested positive for Chlenbuterol. He came back with a vengeance, however, winning the 50m free and 100m free gold double at the 2014 Asian Games, breaking the Asian continental record in the latter in a monster 47.70. He lowered that Asian Record even further to 47.65 at the Chinese Championships later that same year.
Ning then went on to shock the world with a 2015 world title in the 100m freestyle, denying the likes of American Nathan Adrian and Australian Cameron McEvoy.
However, the Chinese heart-throb was reportedly cut from the Chinese National Team in July 2016 immediately before that year’s Olympic Games for having undertaken too many commercial engagements. At the time, Ning denied the claims and he went on to compete in Rio, but was unable to qualify for the men’s 100m freestyle final.
In early 2017, Ning was indeed kicked off the National Team, as confirmed by the Chinese Swimming Federation, for entering into commercial agreements in violation of team protocol.
Ning did not compete at the 2017 World Championships, nor last year’s Asian Games. He finally took to the pool after short-lived comeback to racing at the Chinese National Championships in November of 2018, however. After not making the 50m fly final at that meet, Ning pulled out of the remainder of the competition with broken fingers.
The Chinese athlete resurfaced in Queensland, his home training base since 2017, at last December’s state championships, winning the men’s 100m freestyle. He produced a time of 48.43.