BEIJING (Reuters) – China's head coach Li Yongbo said his players were not "mentally mature enough" despite winning three of the five titles at the world championships in Kuala Lumpur last week.
With less than a year to go until the Beijing Olympics, missing out on the men's doubles and mixed doubles titles, both won by Indonesians, was clearly not acceptable.
"Our players have the top skills and ability in the world, but are not psychologically mature enough," Li told Monday's China Youth Daily.
"At the Olympic Games, there will be only one chance, either you win or you lose. We can't treat any match lightly as we have to ensure the opportunity of success.
"Our players must grow up quickly, because we can not afford any setbacks on our Olympic mission."
China swept all the golds except the mixed doubles at last year's championships in Madrid.
Last week, top players like women's defending champion Xie Xingfang, men's third seed Chen Jin and number one doubles partnership Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng were all knocked out before the semi-finals.
Twice Olympic mixed doubles champion Gao Ling said the younger Chinese players were not mentally strong enough in tough competitions.
"Compared with my generation, few young players can endure intense pressure and fight until the end," the 28-year-old said.