The Chinese National Table Tennis Team. To ordinary people, it is a dominant team. The dream team in the table tennis world. To Liu Guoliang, it’s the ‘Iron Army’ It’s a team that needs to be urged on, go through the mills and rejuvenate by young athletes. And to the team members, this is heaven as well as battlefield. (You cannot say you are not capable of doing that. You should face the challenge.) Go all out. Every match is a final. March 2017, Chinese Trials for 2017 Dusseldorf WTTC. Tecent Sports documentary team crew recorded the story of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team on and off the stage reveals the untold side of the table tennis world. and entails the true reason for the dominance of Chinese table tennis. Presented by Tecent Sports, a documentary of the Chinese table tennis team. 3 weeks to go to the 2017 Dusseldorf WTTC, It is the most intense moment for the Chinese national table tennis team members. This trials will determine the destiny of many table tennis athletes. The Chinese Trials has been held since 2006. It is known for its ever-changing rules and intense competitions. In 2006, the first Chinese Trials for Bremen WTTC, the 6-point rule was applied which was 5 points fewer than that of the international practice. In 2009, 3rd Chinese Trials for Yokohama WTTC, there was 4-point game, scores were flipped to 9 points once the score reached 4 point so matches were skipped to its end. In 2013, 6th Chinese Trials for Paris WTTC, A round robin without dropping a match in order to qualify, or else players have to play all over again. In 2016, 9th Chinese Trials for Kuala Lumpur WTTC, a best of 9 format was played, which is 2 more games than the normal practice. Every change of the rules, target on the athletes’ speed of getting into the zone and their ability in adjusting their mentality, competitiveness and physical fitness. Since I treat myself as their opponent. I am the person who know the team and the athletes well. I often think out of the box and try unconventional methods, unexpected training to strengthen the team after multiple challenges. The past 10 years of Chinese Trials, are the trials for restructuring the squad for the new Olympic cycle In the Beijing quad, there were 2 Wangs (Wang Hao and Wang Liqin) and 1 Ma (Ma Lin). Wang Hao, Zhang Jike and Ma Long for the London quad. As for Rio, there were Ma Long, Zhang Jike and Xu Xin. The veterans, the middle generation and the young generation alternate in this competition. Year 2017, the first year of the Tokyo quad, What is the future of Ma Long, Zhang Jike and Xu Xin? Will there be upcoming young athletes replacing their spots? Who will be the one? Marvellous 12, 2017 Chinese Trials starts now. Zhang Jike. The London Olympics men’s singles champion. The super idol from Chinese National Table Tennis Team. Liu Dingshuo He is 10 years younger than Zhang Jike. He has just promoted to the A Team. This is his first Chinese Trials. Liu Dingshuo is an all-rounded athlete. He is not a wimp. He plays aggressive under pressure Playing to the level of the opponents. This is well-prepared. Zhang Jike is slow to warm up but he is geared up. He is adjusting his status. You can find that in the details. He is stretching which means he is ready for doing some footwork. He is going to start it off. Nice shot. Great one. Zhang Jike’s style relies on his strong physique. Years of competitions and training have left him many injuries. Liu Dingshuo notice this point. He returned the ball to Zhang Jike’s forehand. Liu Dingshuo is aggressive. Liu Dingshuo played wide angle and moved Zhang Jike around. What a pity. Nice. It’s a challenge for both sides. Liu Dingshuo won Zhang Jike 11:8 in the 3rd game which was his first victory in the Marvellouis 12. It’s the internal competition, we are familiar with each other and the pace of the competition is faster. I have lost strength in my feet, especially when I need to move suddenly. I feel the pain in it. I will train through competitions. There are lots of fans here. To athletes like him, whose ability is higher than other athletes, the tougher the internal competition is, the more meaningful the challenge is. As internal competition is not really a final test for them. The true final tests are international competitions. Such as WTTC and Olympics etc. It seems that our athletes won the international competitions. However in terms of skills, it has not touched their bottom line. Sometimes in internal competitions, top athletes are forced to dead end. (Zhang Jike 2:1 Fang Bo on 4 March) Zhang Jike 2:1 Zhou Qihao on 4 March (Zhou Yu, Chinese National Table Tennis Team member ) Zhou Yu, best friend of Zhang Jike in the Chinese National Table Tennis Team. It’s swelling. When I was young, my father loves table tennis. My uncle also plays table tennis. He was a professional player. Everyone thought the level of the athletes in the Chinese National Team are very similar. Actually in that slenderest margin, it involves of different qualities. That includes the ability to grab the opportunity, and adapt to the changes in the competitions. Everyone has his own problem and his own personality. Let’s say for me, I’m slow in solving problems. In many occasions, I am lead by others. That’s why table tennis is not just about technique but mentality and the change of strategies. Xu Xin’s style is rustic and Zhou Yu’s style is coarse. Zhou Yu did not overcome it but fight hard only. He misread the spin and his returns were high. He did not make adjustment. He had the same problem in international competitions. You don’t make adjustments when you can’t make adjustments? In table tennis competition, apart from the technique, to a large extent it is a competition of wisdom and courage. I always tell my athletes to play smart. The key point is to understand the mentality of your opponents. If you know what he is thinking and understand his personality, and learn his habits, the final step is to predict his next move. This is the core. Nice. I think that he knows Xu Xin’s style so well. Do you find that? He (Zhang Jike) often take the initiative to move Xu Xin. It’s a bit painful. Yep, his foot. He is affect by his injuries. He is not quite good at wide-angle balls. (Zhang Jike 1:2 Xu Xin on 5 March.) All competitions have uncertainties and fortuity. This is the charisma of competitive sports. Don’t be afraid of failure. On 5 March, Zhang Jike played against his best friend, Zhou Yu. It seems that the injury has hindered Zhang Jike’s footwork. It has cost him at least 5 points. It looks like his feet could hardly move. I feel so sorry watching this. At this moment, as long as he stands in the competition court, he is the winner. As a result, Zhou Yu defeated Zhang Jike 11:7 and 11:1. This is the most extreme head-to-head result in recent years. (Zhang Jike withdrew the competition due to injury.) I wonder when will he recover from the injury? Kedie (ZJK’s fans refer themselves as Kedie) supports you as always! Kedie supports you as always! (Fan Zhendong, Chinese National Table Tennis Member.) Fan Zhendong, the no.4 player among the “Big 4”. 3 out of the 5 spots of men’s singles in WTTC are determined by the coaching team. The remaining 2 are open for competition. Many believe the 1997-born young athlete, is most likely to win the 4th ticket to the WTTC. I am eager to win the champion. The average age of the top 3 is around 28 years old. The coaches have high hopes on this 1997-born athlete. Fan Zhendong understands it. The robin round is a test of their integrated ability. They need to adapt different styles and adjust my mentality. Great shot. Fan Zhendong did not make it on the table, Lin Gaoyuan won the decisive 3rd game 11-8. He (Lin Gaoyuan) made a comeback and win 2-1. I am very concern about the first match as many people pointed out that I am slow to enter the zone. Therefore I would like to have a good start in the first match, and then continue the momentum to win. However after losing the first match, I was not quite happy about that. After the first defeat, Fan Zhendong had not yet adjust his form but he faced another misfortune. When I played against Yan An, I sprained my ankle. I worried that my foot would have a great problem. I was not sure whether I should keep going or stop immediately to rest my foot. 2 consecutive losses and an unexpected injury. Fan Zhendong was a bit lost. There were not many chances for him to comeback. If he lost one more match, he would not have the chance to win in stage 1. I have room for improvements. So I thought I should push myself further and make a breakthrough. He has injured his foot. So we adjusted our strategy, reduce the times of playing forehand pivot. I told him to play more backhand and counter-attack with backhand. Sometimes injuries are the turning point. Because of the injury, Fan Zhendong stands closer to the table and his returns are faster. His strategy is effective. When his body condition is limiting his performance, Fan Zhendong found a way to overcome that and win. (Training hall in Shenzhen) However to him the true challenge is yet to come. If he wants to earn the ticket to the WTTC, he must win over the no.1 player, Ma Long. I really want to win him (Ma Long) from the bottom of my heart. So that I can boost my confidence and aura. As part of the ‘Big Four’, Fan Zhendong must have imagined many times to play against Ma Long. But not when he has an injured right foot and a crooked start. (Fan Zhendong Vs Ma Long on 6 March) Fan Zhendong has been consistently world ranked no.2. Whereas the world ranked no.1 player is Ma Long. It is enjoyable to watch Ma Long to play . He has many variations in his arsenal. Wow! What a shot. He is aggressive from the very beginning. Ma Long plays at ease. Whereas Fan Zhendong, the kid is very straight forward. He (Fan Zhendong) is very capable but when he face Ma Long who has a lot of variety, Today’s match might be a tough one. Both sides are aggressive.
(Coach Wu Jingping, CNT Coach) I am not looking for a good match rather I want to see whether you can play with wisdom and courage. I don’t need pure individual ability. My requirement is to see you solving problems after problems in competitions. This forehand down the line is very hard to play. In the 2nd game and the 3rd game, it was all under Ma Long’s control. Fan Zhendong is under a passive situation. This is the most valuable thing of Fan Zhendong. The more critical the moment is, the more daring to attack and he has a high success rate. He can’t do that without daily training. Forehand side near the net of Fan Zhendong. Nice shot. It is agile. If Fan Zhendong wants to beat Ma Long, he has to play to this level. It is not an easy match. Fan Zhendong win over the captain, Ma Long 14:12. Started with a consecutive losses and an unexpected injury, Many thought he (Fan Zhendong) had no chance to win in stage 1. Fan Zhendong changed his strategy and comeback from despair. It is limitations that inspire new ways. A breakthrough from limitations. The comeback of Fan Zhendong, leaves a memorable moment for the Marvellous 12. As long as you never give up, there will be a miracle. Today’s match is impeccable. The first athlete from the men’s team to win the ticket to the WTTC is Fan Zhendong. Congratulations, Xiao Pang (nick name of Fan Zhendong) I am happy to be the first male athlete to win the ticket to the WTTC. The robin round is a tough competition. I hope that I will have a great performance in the Worlds. Thank you. Thank you all the athletes who have won their tickets to WTTC. The women’s team, another half of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team. One of them is the most worth-noticing.
(Liu Shiwen, Chinese National Table Tennis Team member) Liu Shiwen who entered the national team when she was 13 years old. And won the World Cup women’s singles title when she was 19. At that time, everyone refer her as the ‘gifted teenager’. When I first won the world (cup) champion, I was quite happy. I thought the future would be awesome. (Liu Shiwen Vs Feng Yalan 4 March) Nice shot. Liu Shiwen’s understanding on the technique is among the top of the women’s team. Little date (Liu Shiwen’s nick name) is quite speedy. This is equivalent to the first match for Liu Shiwen. Right? We haven’t seen her since Rio. Chinese Nationals and CTTSL (She played in these events) Journalist: I think Liu Shiwen has the toughest path. She lost 2 points in 2010 World Team Championships. The pressure was huge. It was the team competition. She has not recovered since then. She lost again in major international competitions. There were ups and downs and she strives to step out of her own shadow. She said to herself don’t get panic! Some said only the singles title should be consider as the highest personal honor. Despite winning 4 world cup women’s singles titles, but in the more prestigious WTTC and Olympics, she falls short of winning the champion. In 2015 Suzhou WTTC, when Ding Ning injured her ankle, Liu Shiwen’s mental game changed and lost in the finals unexpectedly. This had also cost her the chance of playing singles in the 2016 Olympics despite being world ranked no.1. As the coaching team did not choose her to play the women’s singles. After losing in 2010 Moscow WTTC, I feel like climbing up a slope again. I think my results were not too bad in the past few years. But I have not won the champion in these competitions. It might be a small regret. The talented ones need to prove themselves with victory. The unsatisfying results had triggered thoughts of giving up. This competition (Marvellous 12) is her fist step to make her way back to the international scene. Mind your wrist. Your wrist. Yes. It is not easy to earn the ticket to Dusseldorf WTTC, The first one to challenge Liu Shiwen is Chen Meng who was born in 1994. The 23-year-old Chen Meng, is at her prime time as a table tennis player. Backhand is Chen Meng’s strength. She is a very competitive athlete. Liu Shiwen relies on her speedy attack near the table. She is known for her agility. A rally between the players and Liu Shiwen played slightly long. Liu Shiwen took a couple of points at Chen Meng’s forehand. Nice. Nice shot. Liu Shiwen won 2-0. I feel like I can’t block her shots. Chen Meng talked to her coach about the match she had just lost. While Liu Shiwen who had won, looked more relax. I don’t know what is this. My fans gave this to me. I will use this. Bye. She will face a new opponent in the next match. (Wang Manyu, Chinese National Table Tennis Team member) I have cameraphobia. 18-year-old Wang Many is a bit shy off the court. But the 1.76cm tall athlete is one of the most outstanding player among the young generation. Who lost? Liu Shiwen has won? Liu Shiwen is leading. In 2016 CTTSL, Wang Manyu comeback from a 0-2 deficit and defeated Liu Shiwen 3-2. They play against each other again today. Wang Manyu can pose some serious threats on the top Chinese players. Brilliant. (Liu Shiwen) targeted at Wang Manyu’s weakness, forehead near the net. Nice. Liu Shiwen did not let the result in CTTSL replicate. (Coach Yan Sen): You made a short return and everyone can play a soft touch. After they returned the ball, you played slightly high and they had the chance. You often loop like this. (Coach Wu Jingping): This is not correct. There are no force going forward You must loop with your racket pressed down. My forehand serve is out. And I don’t even know the reasons for that. Even when you feel it’s against you, you must loop like this with a softer touch. Or else you play all your forehand shots like this and block like this. No sweet without sweat. I think she is one of the hopefuls among the young generation from the women’s side. Her backhand is the best among all female table tennis players at this moment. She is a bit like Xiao Pang (Fan Zhendong’s nickname). She has a great touch in her backhand. Yet her forehand is a bit problematic. There is a significant shortcoming in her forehand. The upcoming training will be critical. If she overcomes that problem, she will move up the rank quickly. Perhaps every talented young athlete has to learn from his/her failure. Wang Manyu will understand that Liu Shiwen who defeated her has gone through more failures than herself. On 7 March, the last day of stage 1 of the Marvellous 12, the first ticket to 2017 Dusseldorf WTTC will be given out today. Liu Shiwen has to play against Ding Ning since 2015. Liu Shiwen has won all matches prior to this match. Just now, I played a forehand loop and perhaps I was out of place and pulled my muscles. A winning streak of 9 matches. If I lose this match, the winning streak means nothing. Tonight’s match will determine everything. I said if I lose tonight’s match, no matter how long the winning streak was would be meaningless. Be positive. Maybe you will not lose tonight. The point is you are not 100% sure that you can win. Liu Shiwen looking at ease pointed out the cruelness of competition. Despite she has won all the matches prior to this match while Ding Ning has lost 1 match. As long as Ding Ning wins over Liu Shiwen, 2 of them will have the same score and base on the win-loss relationships, Ding Ning will win. In other words, Liu Shiwen must win over Ding Ning to earn her ticket to Dusseldorf. The first ticket to Dusseldorf for the women’s team will come down to this match. Liu Shiwen is faster than Ding Ning. They are very familiar with each other’s style. It’s such a close match. So strong. Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen played a world-class counter-attack. The first game was intense. When you make the right prediction, you must be daring enough to use your forehand. Ding Ning plays better when she is lagging behind. Ding Ning is using the opponent’s speed and force. She is strong at playing rallies. The 2nd game is intense. There are no passive defense in this match but counter-attack. Ding Ning is not powerful enough in this shot. This is the strength of a left-handed player. It has clipped the edge. (Liu Shiwen 2-0 Ding Ning on 7 March) Liu Shiwen did not give away the chance of winning. She defeated Ding Ning. Liu Shiwen won over Ding Ning 2-0. Liu Shiwen you are awesome. You did not lose a match in ths competition. You have won 11 matches consecutively. You deserve to be called ‘the marvellous’. I have never thought of this before. As I have not competed for quite a long time. I am prepared to have a new start here. I think that I have a bit of luck in the last match. Let’s have an afternoon tea, It’s obviously very different. ‘The Victory Coffee’ I am persist in the things that I want to do, I will not let go easily. It does not work like I thought when I had just made to the international scene. It used to feel like everything was gorgeous and it was easy to win. And I gradually understand the cruelness in competitive sports. You have worked very hard but sometimes it ends up different from your expectations. However I think we must face all of these. Unless you quit and give up playing table tennis. I have thought of quitting and retiring from the sport. I have thought of this. But as I think more thoroughly, I might miss the sport a lot. As I decide to play one more day, then I shall go all out. And play to the best of my ability and don’t waste my talent. I should show my ability. I think the potential of an athlete release in adversities is more important. When I select athletes, I do not care their ability when they are at good conditions. I would rather look for athletes who can carry on when they encounter difficulties. Because only such athletes would not be fear of difficulties. They can overcome the hardships. And meet my standard of better than actual competition, stronger than actual competition and tougher than actual competition. If they have these qualities, I can rest assured that I can use them in international competitions. In this spring, someone is ready to comeback from where she had fallen. While there is someone who joins this intense competition for the first time. (Lin Gaoyuan, Chinese National Table Tennis Team member) Shang Kun: I’m ready to go back. Lin Gaoyuan: Practise more to retain your form. SK: No, thanks. Bro! It doesn’t matter to have one more or 10 more minutes of practice. Lin Gaoyuan who was born in 1995, plays the Chinese Trials for the first time. As the ranked no.11 athlete among the Marvellous 12, how far is he away Dusseldorf WTTC, not to mention, 2020 Tokyo Olympics? It seems that everyone knows the answer. I told him don’t even think of earning the ticket to Dusseldorf. It has nothing to do with him. The ‘Big Four’ (Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike) are there and you must exceed them to win the ticket. This is too hard. So all he can do is to try his best and play up to the level of his training. That’s that. (Lin Gaoyuan 2-1 Fan Zhendong) (Lin Gaoyuan 2-1 Xu Xin) Nailed it. Lin Gaoyuan defeated Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin. Lin Gaoyuan is the biggest dark horse of the competition. Prior to the last metch of stage 1, Lin Gaoyuan shared the first place of the leaderboard with Ma Long and Fan Zhendong. If he had won Ma Long, the ticket to Dusseldorf would have belonged to Lin Gaoyuan. To young athletes, the feeling of attaining the highest level in one step and the feeling of one step away are bittersweet moment. Ma Long world ranked no.1 table tennis player, is also roommate (during the Marvellous 12) and teammate (CTTSL) of Lin Gaoyuan. In the national team, Ma Long is a close friend of Lin Gaoyuan. However they have to play against each other. There is a subtle relationship between winning and losing. Michael Jordan once said once you have won you never want to lose. The toughest thing for (Chinese) table tennis athletes is that you can only prove yourself by winning champions. No matter how great you have played, winning second and third does not mean that much. The most valuable quality of Lin Gaoyuan is his positive attitude. He is hard working and eager to play his best in every match. I think these qualities are similar to mine. Despite the fact that he is not up to the level of the top players, his keen interest in table tennis and dedication to training, have touched me. (Ma LongVs Lin Gaoyuan on 7 March) It is quite challenging for Lin Gaoyuan. As he is going to play against Ma Long who is in great form. He can just put himself out there. If he has other thoughts he will be defeated sooner. He can only go all out and be aggressive. Then there might be a slight chance of winning. If he does what he normally play. No chance of winning. Nice. Great point. The first point of the match is already very captivating. I feel like Lin Gao Yuan is well-prepared in this match. They play in the same club so they are familiar with each other. Wow! Nice shot. Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand is very outstanding. The major problems are his forehand short push and his forehand loop. Lin Gaoyuan is doing great here. Nice shot. Overall speaking, Lin Gaoyuan plays well in this match. Indeed, he is great. Facing Ma Long, such a strong opponent, Lin Gaoyuan as a young athlete has done his best. He is brave and aggressive enough to play what he is capable of. The quality of that shot is great. His blocks in the forehand and backhand side are really awesome. Out of everyone’s expectation, Lin Gaoyuan took the first game from Ma Long. Here comes the 2nd game. Liin Gaoyuan is 9:8 ahead of Ma Long. If he win 2 more points, he will win the competition. Oh no. 9:9. It was an opportunity. Ma Long, go for it! The chance is right in front of you. It’s the matter of whether you can grab it. Wow! He foresees that. Such a wide angle, Ma Long was waiting round the corner. He foresees that. See. Lin Gaoyuan is deformed. I think that’s the end. Lin Gaoyuan is out of order. Even the top Chinese players get nervous at this moment. but they have more depth to calm their nerves. If you give a chance to Ma Long, he will grab it. (Ma Long) I think it is not the problem of his technique. It is matter of the strategy. If you cannot realize the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, you must play your strengths and hide your shortcomings. Sometimes your strength may not be better than your opponent’s weakness. Then you use your weakness to play against his weakness. Perhaps your weakness is better than his. You need some thoughts to play table tennis. Actually it is your mentality that has cost you the match. You have to be determined when you need to be aggressive. You need to grab the opportunity. You earn this opportunity through hard work. From the very first match to this match. You cannot hesitate. Once you hesitate for one moment and let your opponent escape from that, you know the results of hesitating. Once you let go the opportunity, it will be very tough. When he takes the game, it will be very hard for you to win over him as he won’t give you a second chance. It’s a pity. Lin Gaoyuan did a great job. He has played well. The only fault is at that 0.1 second, he hesitated and was not determined enough when he needed to be aggressive. When he hesitated, he gave Ma Long a chance to make a comeback. The defeat of Lin Gaoyuan may look disappointing, but he might have made the same mistakes in the previous competitions. Some athletes may seem like playing at a similar level but the fact is there is a huge differential between them. If he can learn a lesson from this, he might be more mature in the later competitions. And make a difference. On 9 March, there’s no time for Lin Gaoyuan to regret. He had to play stage 2 of the Marvellous 12. (Lin Gaoyuan 2-0 Shang Kun) (Lin Gaoyuan 2-1 Xu Xin on 10 March in Stage 3) (Lin Gaoyuan 2-0 Zhou Yu on 10 March in Stage 3) Finally, he has made it. Lin Guoliang commented that the emergence of Lin Gaoyuan has shuffled the rankings among the ‘Big Four’ (Ma Long, Zhang Jike, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong). It’s a new start for the young athlete. On 3 March, the grand-slam player, Zhang Jike made his way in the loud cheering from the crowd. And go through the beginning of the Olympic cycle for the third time. Nice shot. Awesome. On 5 March, the favourite, Fan Zhendong, injured his right foot after losing a few matches unexpectedly and got near bottom. To give up or go for it? It was a tough decision. On 7 March, Lin Gaoyuan won over the top Chinese players and emerged in his first Chinese Trials as a dark horse. Prior to the last match of stage 1, he was just one step away from earning the ticket to Dusseldorf. Nice shot. Brilliant. In the afternoon on the same day, Liu Shiwen was facing Ding Ning, she was defeated by Ding Ning 2 years ago and missed the spot of playing women’s singles in the Olympics. She was on the competition court again to strive for the ticket to Dusseldorf. Sometimes even themselves do not know how good they are. You need to push their limits, discover their potentials and guide them. Who have ever thought of each player in the court is playing an exciting match which is a match to fight for his/her dream. Their growth, fight, relief and surprise have exceeded the value of the ticket to WTTC. And have left a fond memory in the spring of Shenzhen. Like the life of everyone of us when opportunities and hardship come, be brave and fight hard, the outcome may be different. (Outtakes) I can only speak 3 sentences. (Qiao Xiaowei, Chinese National Table Tennis Team coach) How did I get involve in table tennis? The main reason is that I love table tennis. It’s also because of my family. I like the sport even more after being a table tennis coach. I love table tennis more than anything else. (Zhu Yuling): My parents had no time to pick me up after school when I was young. Since there were table tennis classes after school, I joined it. (Xu Xin): By chance. I did not take the initiative to get involved in table tennis. I was in a nursery school and a table tennis school selected some kids to train for table tennis. And they were looking for kids who have fast reaction time and smart. And I was selected. (Li Jiayi, CNT member): I was chubby when I was young. I played table tennis to get some exercise when I was young. (Feng Yalan): I entered the national team in the morning of 3 April, 2003. (Zhou Kai, CNT member): It was around March, 2013 I was quite excited when I entered the national team. (Liu Dingshuo, CNT member): I was quite nervous on the first day in the national team. I was not used to the environment but I was excited at the same time. When I arrived the (national team) training hall, I thought I am part of the team. I feel like the door of the national team is not as big as I have expected. (Gu Yuting, CNT member): I asked myself did I really make to the national team? And I am very happy every day. When I just entered the national team, my coach warned me don’t be too happy and asked me to take table tennis seriously. Then I realized that I have become a professional table tennis player. (Qin Zhijian, CNT coach): I joined the national team at a young age. I entered the national team when I was 13 years old. And I never leave the team since then. I became a national team coach after my retirement (from elite sport). (Li Sun, CNT coach): My first day in the national team was on 21 October, 1996. I was quite perturbed that day as I had never entered the national team. When I was an athlete, I did not make to the national team. When I became a coach, I made to the national A Team. I was a bit worried and anxious. 20 years has gone. (Li Sun and his athlete, Li Xiaoxia) (Li Sun and his athlete, Wang Nan and Zhang Yining) (Wu Jingping, CNT coach): There was a controversy whether to allow me to coach in the national team. As I did not make to the national team when I was an athlete and I was just a coach of the Team B of Sichuan provincial team and I was not even a head coach. All of a sudden I became a coach of the national team in Team A. This was a huge leap. My biggest dream in the national team is to coach an athlete from scratch and train them to be world champion. I enjoy the atmosphere of playing in the semifinals and finals. There is a large crowd cheering in semifinals and finals. I like that feeling. I like to play under the spotlight with many people watching. I like those kinds of competitions. One more. As I have chosen to play table tennis, I must do my best. Despite ‘the best’ is different in different people’s point of view, I think being able to release my full potential and do my best is a meaningful thing in my life. The last day is the most tiring day to them. Me and Zhang Jike did not choose to retire because we feel that we can continue to play. A game point again. (Yan An, CNT member): The national team is not a place for ordinary people. Everyone is the creme de la creme, the very best table tennis player. Therefore we feel huge pressure in the team and the competition is intense. I am proud to be part of the team. Nice shot. The quality of that loop is high. Once more. Amazing. She played with her left hand. Left hand. Everyone put their hands together. This will be in the highlights. (Wang Hao): The national team has made us who we are today. Because of this big family and we always feel the bonding in it. (Zhou Yu, CNT member), I am grateful for this big family. It has taught us a lot. The team has support us no matter in competitions and in our lives as well. (Fan Zhendong, CNT member) I would like to thank our team for letting me grow and be mature. Thank you, Chinese National Table Tennis Team for giving me opportunities and trains me to be a table tennis player. Thank you, Chinese National Table Tennis Team. Thank you, table tennis. Thank you Chinese National Table Tennis Team. All the honor I have owned is the effort of this collective. It is impossible to have all of these without this collective. I am thankful for that. Don’t hesitate to play at your backhand short. Make your prediction and use your forehand to limit her attack. (56-year-old coach Qiao Xiaowei retired in April and ended her 27 years of coaching career)
Table tennis is all of me. The team is able to retain its continue success. As we often emphasized that table tennis is an individual sport but we rely on a collective effort.