Pretty Much Every Ping Pong Team in the World Has Chinese People In It

Thirty-eight of the 44 Chinese table tennis players who are competing at the Rio Olympics are actually playing there to represent other nations.

1

Playing for countries like Spain, the Republic of the Congo, Qatar, France, Austria, Canada, Slovakia, Ukraine and Singapore, these talented Chinese athletes represent a sizable number from the overall total of 172 table tennis players.

According to the New York Times, player Ni Xialian was among those who made the move to a different team from China. Back in 1983, Ni won a gold medal at the World Table Tennis Championships representing her home country.

She moved to the German team six years later, before permanently staying in Luxembourg to officially play for their national team in 1991.

“There was too much competition. I didn’t have the courage anymore,” the 53-year-old, China-born athlete told The New York Times. She represented her adopted country again, for her 3rd Olympic competition, this year in Rio.

While it is common to find an athlete represent other countries in Olympic competitions, having  31% of table tennis players hailing from a single country, is highly unprecedented and certainly unusual.

According to the rules of the Table Tennis Federation, players who choose to play for another country after turning 21 will not be able  to play in world championships, the World Cup or the World Team World Cup. The Olympics, however, is an exception.

2

Li Ping, another import from China, now plays for Qatar, while Feng Tianwei, Zhou Yihan and Yu Mengyu are all Chinese nationals who are representing Singapore.

“There was a gap, in technique and experience, between me and the players more senior than me. I understood why others were picked ahead of me,’” Yu told The Strait Times in an interview. “Competing is a privilege reserved for only the best in China. Before I came to Singapore, I couldn’t take part in professional tournaments or major games. My dreams felt impossible.”

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com