Sunday, August 24, 2008

Table Tennis -a Chinese puzzle

Ma Wang Wang;
Zhang Wang Gou.

That's not a Chinese slang but the first names of the Chinese medal winners (men & women, 6 of them all) in Beijing Olympics 2008. China swept the top three medals in both the men and women sections of Table Tennis. While the results do not raise eyebrows anymore 'cos people expect Chinese to win them anyway; but what is amazing is that the dominance of Chinese is going on for last 4 decades. The penhold grip , open-backhand , amazing speed with spin & power still continue to dazzle & puzzle the top paddlers of the world.
Now its become a sustainable world-class sport in China where ex-world champions coach the next generation talents. The passion of a common Chinese for table tennis is enormous. I remember during my final year in engineering in Kharagpur, I use to practise with an owner of a Chinese restaurant,"Far East". We started knocking around a bit initially and then later it would be a daily afternoon affair at the IIT gymkhana. For two hours we never talked , just played TT and then departed. Again it would start the next day. And all through the initiative to sweat was solely his as I was more content to lay back the few remaining days in KGP.
My impression then was that the Chinese strive for perfection in whatever they do and will even die just striving for that. Their tenacity, hard work, punctuality, geniality and above all their love for the game is enormous.
Anthropologists should make a study on Chinese paddlers to discover the secret in their DNA that make them world beaters for last 40 years.
(In picture : Ma Lin, the gold medal winner in action in Beijing 2008 )

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