China-US Pairs Lead Joint Practice As ‘Ping-Pong Diplomacy’ Journey Continues
Video: Chinese and American players team up for the first time at the World Table Tennis Championships in Houston. Find out what players have to say about the competition. [Xinhua]
Virginia Sung, CEO of USA Table Tennis, said the past 50 years have witnessed tremendous progress in people-to-people interaction in the table tennis community between the United States and China, adding that she is thrilled. that the opportunity materialized for both teams to compete in a mixed doubles event in Houston.
HOUSTON, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) – The main competition hall at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships venue has become the focal point on the eve of the event’s opening in Houston.
Two pairs of Chinese and American players conducted a joint training session here on Monday evening, demonstrating how the younger generations are perpetuating the spirit of “ping-pong diplomacy” initiated between the two nations half a century ago.
With Chinese Lin Gaoyuan and American Lily Zhang on one end and American player Kanak Jha and Chinese Wang Manyu on the other, the little white ball moved between the pairs.
A rapport was observed in each pair as they exchanged ideas and gestured on tactics, although this was the first joint practice after the announcement of the two combinations by the International Table Tennis Federation. (ITTF).
|China’s Lin Gaoyuan (1st L, front), Lily Zhang (2nd L, front) of the United States compete with Wang Manyu (2nd R, front) of China and Kanak Jha (1st R, front) of the United States during a joint training session of two pairs of American and Chinese players entering the mixed doubles competition at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, the United States on November 22, 2021. [Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling]|
Lin said he often discussed tactics with Zhang during training in order to cooperate better in the future.
For the newly formed pairs, each round has been an opportunity for understanding and accommodation, Lin said, adding that “we will work hard game by game.”
For Wang and Jha, the joint practice was also a journey of self-discovery.
“This is our first couple. I have witnessed Jha’s strength during training and look forward to the next matches,” said Wang.
Jha said, “Our styles are a bit different, which might be good to combine.”
“I think [Wang] has a very strong forehand and backhand, and I’m more confident and consistent. So I hope that together, we can bring out each other’s strengths, ”he added.
|Lily Zhang (1st L) of the United States, Lin Gaoyuan (2nd L) of China compete with Kanak Jha (2nd R) of the United States and Wang Manyu of China in a joint two-pair training session of ‘American and Chinese players entering the mixed doubles competition at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, the United States on November 22, 2021. [Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling]|
The ITTF announced on Sunday that Lin, fifth seed in men’s singles, will team up with Zhang, while Jha will play with China’s fourth seed in women’s singles Wang to compete in the mixed doubles competition at the world championships. tennis tournament in Houston, marking the 50th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy.
“It’s really amazing to be a part of a great moment in history,” said Zhang, five-time national champion of the United States, adding that table tennis had helped her learn more about Chinese culture. .
“I really like this sport. It is able to transcend all borders and bring us together,” added Zhang.
50 years ago, the American table tennis team was invited by its Chinese counterpart to visit China after the 31st World Championships in Nagoya, Japan. The American players landed in Beijing on April 10, 1971, becoming the first American group to visit China since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The Chinese team made a return visit the following year.
|Liu Guoliang (4th from left), president of the World Table Tennis Council and president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association exchanges the team jersey with Virginia Sung (4th from right), general manager of USA Table Tennis during of a joint training session of two pairs formed from both American and Chinese players competing in the mixed doubles competition at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, the United States on November 22, 2021 . [Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling]|
Virginia Sung, CEO of USA Table Tennis, said the past 50 years have witnessed tremendous progress in people-to-people interaction in the table tennis community between the United States and China, adding that she is thrilled. that the opportunity has materialized for both. teams to compete in a mixed doubles event in Houston.
Liu Guoliang, chairman of the World Table Tennis Council and chairman of the China Table Tennis Association, said the fact that Chinese and American players team up for mixed doubles opens a new chapter in ping diplomacy. -pong in this new era.
These athletes, who are friends with each other, can work together in the competition, and in the meantime, fans from both countries can cheer them on, added Liu, who noted that the sport has a magical power that transcends competition. because it can help cultivate Friendship.
|Lin Gaoyuan (4th from right) and Wang Manyu (3rd from right) of China react with Lily Zhang (2nd from right) and Kanak Jha (1st from right) of the United States in a joint two-pair training session Composed of American and Chinese players entering the mixed doubles competition at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, United States on November 22, 2021. [Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling]|
Judy Hoarfrost, who was part of the U.S. team that visited China in 1971, told Xinhua that moves like joint training and twinning are “a wonderful gesture to have,” showing that the table tennis community really cares about “bringing people together through sport. “
It is important to realize “what our sport was able to do with ping-pong diplomacy in 1971”, in order to “pass this legacy on to our current players and to our future players,” she said.
The 2021 table tennis world championships open on Tuesday. The event, which runs November 23-29, marks the first time that a prestigious sports event has been hosted in the Americas.
It features 128 singles players (men and women) and 64 pairs in each doubles competition (men’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles) who meet for the first time in a revamped and expanded knockout format.