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Home News Chinese women’s table tennis player redeems early mistakes, wins team gold

Chinese women’s table tennis player redeems early mistakes, wins team gold

Summer Games 2 August 2023

After losing her first match of the women’s team table tennis final, He Zhuojia had the chance to set the record straight and bring home China’s first table tennis gold medal at the Chengdu FISU World University Games.

“I was desperate to win the last match because each of my other two teammates had already gotten a score,” said He.

After going down early in the contest, He began to make unforced errors. Her teammates, Qian Tianyi and Wang Xiaotong, came back from the 1-0 deficit by defeating their Japanese competitors in neck-and-neck battles. When Japanese Idesawa Kyoka defeated Qian 3-2 in the fourth match of the contest, the fate of the Chinese team fell onto He’s shoulders.

Kurono Aoi (Japan)

Right off the bat, He took the lead. In the first game, the Chinese athlete held her opponent to only three points. In the second game, she took it 11-4. With each scored point, the crowd went wild.

“He Zhuojia made the whole venue excited, and she raised the atmosphere of the crowd,” said the Chinese coach.

Her confidence was palpable, and the fans at High-tech Zone Sports Centre Gymnasium were loving every moment of it. “I borrowed power from my team and the crowd,” said He.

Although He dropped the third set, she wasn’t disheartened. She recentered and took the gold for her team in front of a spirited home audience.

He recently graduated from the Shanghai University of Sport with a master’s degree in Sports. She said her main area of focus was pimples, which are the raised bumps on the inside of the racket’s rubber. Various pimple lengths and types are used to achieve different styles of gameplay.

The Chinese athlete is one of the few top-level table tennis players that uses long pimples.

The day was complemented by a 3-0 victory for China in the men’s team table tennis final. Zhou Kai, Xu Yingbin, and Xue Fei overpowered the team from Chinese Taipei, conceding only three games in the contest.

Xue Fei (China)

“They fought to the last point from the very beginning. They put our learning into practice and exhausted every means to win the game,” said the Chinese men’s team coach.

The teams tournament is just the start of these athletes’ run at the FISU Games. For many table tennis players, singles and doubles tournaments remain.

“The team competition is over now, and tomorrow singles begin,” said Xu. “I will try my best to predict some challenges that I might face in singles and get into the headspace to face them.”

Written by Miriam Celebiler, FISU Young Reporter