Why Chinese table tennis is the standard for any player
Table tennis has been dominated by China for the longest time and it should not be a surprise. They are the standard for any player in the sport and it’s easy to see why. Let’s dive into why China has separated itself from the other countries in the sport.
Chinese paddlers have a different aura compared to other countries. They have a special culture centred on table tennis. They have produced so many superstars in both men and women’s divisions. The likes of Ma Long and Chen Meng have loved playing the sport since their childhood and they were supported well by the system.
Pressure is a big part of Chinese sports because these players carry the weight of their country on their shoulders. In table tennis, they are widely considered the best team in the world and they always have to live up to that reputation. This was amplified in the 2020 Tokyo Games when mixed doubles team Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin publicly apologized for their loss to Japan.
China is in a class of their own
When you look at the teams aside from China, you can see that there are some strong teams with the likes of Japan and South Korea. Unfortunately, pundits think they are still not on the same level as China.
Adam Bobrow is considered as the ‘Voice of Table Tennis’ and he has a unique perspective on the sport. He has experience watching all of the best players in the world which is why he sees China in a class of their own.
Bobrow said, ‘China is in a class of its own. There is no comparison. Japan is very strong and (South) Korea is very strong, but China is a class of its own and we have to acknowledge that. There is an incredible amount of pressure on the Chinese players. The Chinese players have very individual personalities, they all have a sense of humour, some more than others, and they all have sacrificed a lot to make it their career to and to qualify and be a part of the greatest national team’.
China challenges their players to become the best
It is ingrained in Chinese sports that they need to compete to be known as the best. China is the strongest country in table tennis and it’s not close. However, they are not complacent with their status because they always fight for their tag as the best team in the world.
The key behind their success is the way they challenge their player to be the best at their sport. The notion that domestic Chinese tourneys are more competitive than international play might sound absurd but you can understand why that’s a popular opinion. Hopefully, other teams can emulate their system so they can keep in step with China.
Words: Cholo Martin