HomeLatestFeature: Table tennis legend Ni ages like nice wine

Feature: Table tennis legend Ni ages like nice wine

CHENGDU, China, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) — At age 59, Ni Xialian is the oldest participant on the World Team Table Tennis Championships, which obtained underway right here on Friday. But do not write her off!

On the primary competitors day, the 1983 world champion nailed two factors and led Luxembourg to an upset win over South Korea within the ladies’s crew group stage.

Ni, presently world No. 41, noticed off Sixteenth-ranked Jeon Jihee 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 in a battle of left-handers earlier than she rallied previous Lee Zion in full units, 11-3, 10-12, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4.

After taking the decisive set, Ni jumped in jubilation like a child earlier than speeding to the sideline and giving a kiss to her husband, coach and coaching accomplice Tommy Danielsson.

“I have nothing to lose, and what I want from a match is just to enjoy the process,” Ni stated, referring to her secret to successful the Group 4 match.

For Ni, who was born in Shanghai in 1963 and a former member of the Chinese nationwide crew, the Chengdu worlds is about greater than a contest. It’s additionally a homecoming occasion.

“Even though I don’t represent Team China anymore, I’m still widely supported by the Chinese fans, my countrymen. I appreciate it so much that I played beyond my level today,” stated Ni.

Ni joined the Shanghai crew in 1978 and was known as as much as the Chinese nationwide crew the next yr. She helped the Chinese ladies’s crew to win the crew title within the Tokyo worlds in 1983 when desk tennis wasn’t but an Olympic sport, and likewise claimed the blended doubles gold with Guo Yuehua and a doubles bronze with Cao Yanhua.

“I was born in China and received systematic training in Shanghai, which nurtured my solid skills and capability of reading games. It’s very important, a lifetime treasure,” Ni stated.

Ni retired from the Chinese crew in 1986 after successful her fourth world medal the yr earlier than, then moved to Germany in 1989 and settled down in Luxembourg two years later.

Her love for desk tennis, nonetheless, did not enable her to hold up the paddle, and she or he took her first European singles title at 39.

“I play a traditional Chinese fast-attacking game with a penhold grip and apply pimpled rubber on my paddle, which has a little bit advantage, especially when I grow older.

“My model does not require an excessive amount of power and working in near-table play and makes it potential that I can play good,” Ni said.

After 30 years of sojourn, she has represented the European country five times in the Olympic Games since 2000, including Beijing 2008, and made the podium in the World Table Tennis Championships for a record fifth time, pairing with Sarah de Nutte to win a bronze in women’s doubles event in Houston last year.

Earlier this year, Ni was awarded the Luxembourg Government Commendation “Chavenlier” Medal (Oak Crown Medal) in recognition of her outstanding contributions.

“In competitions, I signify Luxembourg, and in Luxembourg, I signify the Chinese. I believe that is very significant.”

“I really like the sport and can by no means hand over,” she added.