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Powerful Women: Inspirational Female Chinese Ping Pong Players

China has long been considered a patriarchal and male-centered society, often shunning the talents and the goodness of women.   

In recent decades, however, the spotlight has started to shine on women who play sports, who give their all for the country they love and for the sport that has made them who they are. Here are 5 Chinese women who’ve put the “E” in excellence in the sport of ping pong:

Image obtained from China Daily

1) Liu Shiwen

She does a shakehand grip and attacks like no other! Table tennis is one of the most important things for this 29 year old. Indeed, she has won, at the least, world doubles champion twice, world team champion and world cup champion four times each, and world tour champion at a whopping thirteen times! 

What does a typical day in schedule look like? “When I’m not training, .. Actually I have to train everyday, and barely have any free time. My daily routine: wake up, have breakfast, and then prepare for my training session.” Twice a day training? Yes!

2) Chen Meng

Another player with an impressive record! Chen Meng won both the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour China and Korea Opens, and has secured her top spot on the women’s world rankings. 

One of her secrets? “With the help of the coach, I will keep reminding myself before matches and trainings that I need to be more focused and need to reduce unforced errors, which will help me to find that real-life match feeling during training sessions,” she says. The importance of training!

3) Ding Ning

A unique person who plays with her left hand, Ding Ning is formidable. She won the World Table Tennis Championships in the years 2011, 2015, and 2017. Although 2019 could’ve been a better year for her, starting it as world champion but ending it at number 7, she is still at the top of her game being one of the world’s best.

“I like table tennis because it brings a lot of joy to me not only when I win, but also the pain it brings when I lose,” says Ding Ning. After all, as the saying goes, no pain, no gain.

Image obtained from The Sports Examiner

4) Lily Zhang 

Born in the US, Lily Zhang is a Chinese-American player. She was only 7 when she started training under Dennis Davis, North American representative of the junior commission of the ITTF. In 2014, she won bronze at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, the first American to do so. 

“Every single time I go to an international tournament, every single time I put on the US flag, it’s just such a feeling of pride and accomplishment, and I hope that when I go out into the court, I’m representing my country well and I’m fighting and I’m playing my best.” Talk about honor to country and family!

5) Zhu Yuling

Last but not least, there’s Zhu Yuling. She won the 2017 World Cup and was runner up in the 2017 World Championship and semi-final player at the 2013 World Championship, a great accomplishment for someone who’s 25 year old. 

Commenting on a match by her fellow pros who are 5 years younger than her, Zhu Yuling had this to say: “As a bystander evaluating on this match, I think both players played great, especially at their current young age, Wang Manyu was born in 1999 and [Mama] Ito in 2000… I think I also learned a lot from their calmness, insights, decisiveness, and boldness today.” A humble player is a worthy player.  

And that, together with lots of training, dedication, and love is the key to becoming a pro not just at ping pong, but at everything else, too. We can be the best players in the world; we can have the highest number of medals anyone has ever seen and yet without humility, we wouldn’t be able to learn from one another. Humility is indeed the key. 

Credits: International Table Tennis Association, Wikipedia


The author of this article: 

An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook:

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