Landing on August 5th in Los Angeles, the Chinese National Table Tennis Team accepted the invitation of USA Table Tennis and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to train for three weeks at the John Wooden Center on the campus of UCLA with members of the US National team as they prepare for Tokyo 2020.
Headlining the 50+ Chinese Team included Olympic Singles Champions Ding Ning and Ma Long plus a staff of past Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champions. Team USA featured members of the medal-winning US Pan Am Team and a number of 2020 US Olympic hopefuls.
Virginia Sung, CEO of USATT shared, “When you play with the best of the best, there is so much to learn. Our U.S. players will learn what it takes to be the best in the world: the technique, discipline, and a fresh perspective on how much dedication, hard work, and sacrifice is required to stand on top of the mountain.”
Table Tennis has allowed China and the United States to continue their shared sense of cooperation and friendship. It all began in 1971 when the US Team at the Nagoya, Japan World Championships was invited to Beijing for friendship matches with Chinese players. This led to the US and China establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Everyone knows ping-pong diplomacy is how our two peoples were able to get reconnected and start the process of opening to each other,” reminisced Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles Zhang Ping, as he addressed the assembled teams and spectators in John Wooden Center.
“And over the years, the China national team and players have carried on that ping-pong diplomacy legacy and traveled to many countries not only to compete but in the spirit of friendship and to cultivate friendly relations with each other’s peoples,” he added.
On August 22 at the Nixon Library, members of the original US Team (George Brathwaite, Connie Sweeris, and Judy Hoarfrost) that visited China in 1971 were present to continue their friendship by playing with the Olympic and World Champions.
Paddle Palace’s Judy Hoarfrost showed current World Champion Liu Shiwen her skills.
85-year-old George “The Chief” Braithwaite and Xu “Cloud Walker” Xin shared a great rally.
Would you like to show your support for US and China friendship through table tennis? Order your own Ping Pong Diplomacy T-shirt in both men’s and women’s v-neck designs. Both are on sale at this time!