Fans from China are swooning over Japanese table tennis player Ai Fukuhara, even ahead of her scheduled games at the Rio Olympics.
Chinese netizens have been vocal about their support for the amiable 28-year-old athlete to the point of advising her to marry a Chinese man, reported South China Morning Post.
Fukuhara has accumulated 340,000 followers on her Weibo account where she updates fans on her daily goings on at the Olympics.
One of her posts before the Olympics’ opening ceremony on Friday, which has so far gathered more than 1,000 comments, read: “At the Athletes’ Village and I am looking at the China team building.”
The message, which was followed by two smileys with a heart each, earned many comments inviting her to visit China and marry a Chinese man.
Unfortunately for the hopeful Chinese fans, Fukuhara, who is fluent in both written and spoken Chinese, already has a boyfriend: 27-year-old Taiwanese player and fellow Rio Olympian Chiang Hung-chieh.
The enamored fans’ gesture to the popular Japanese athlete is seen as a breath of fresh air amid the growing tensions between the governments of China and Japan.
“The relations of China and Japan is counting on you,” commented one netizen.
“Why don’t you move into the China team building as well?” offered another.