Ni Xialian, 58, sums up fifth Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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Chinese-born table tennis player Ni Xialian, 58, representing Luxembourg, made her fifth trip to the Olympics this year. The former Chinese national team member is the oldest Olympic table tennis player in history. She won the World Championship in 1983, but was eliminated in the second round at Tokyo 2020 after a 4-3 loss to 17-year-old Shin Yubin of Korea. She spoke to the CGTN Sports Scene about her feeling of being associated with the Games and the possibility of participating in Paris 2024.

“I’m happy and proud to be here. I don’t think every 58-year-old woman could have this chance,” said the five-time Olympian. As a member of the Luxembourg delegation, she made her first appearance at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, followed by Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Tokyo 2020.

“When you stand at the table, you don’t think about age,” Ni stressed.

“Shin, seventeen, is the new star, and she’s consistent, strong and powerful. I only thought about how to beat her.”

The Shanghai-born paddler added that she hasn’t really been in good shape due to a lack of competition since last February due to the pandemic. “That’s life. I have no complaints. On the contrary, I couldn’t even imagine having the chance to be here in Tokyo,” Ni told CGTN.

In addition, the former world champion shared the Olympic spirit that she values.

“I received a very good education in China, and in becoming a professional player, I always wanted to be better. Improving is never finished, and I have a responsibility to try to do my best. . “

Ni also compared playing table tennis to playing chess. “In table tennis you have to devote your whole life to becoming a master,” she said, referring to her motivation to continue playing on the world stage.

When asked if she would perform another three years later in Paris 2024, Ni euphemistically replied, “That’s the big question. You can never go against nature and promise. So, we’ll just wait and to see.”


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