FREMONT, Calif., Dec. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In a historic milestone for the country, Table Tennis America’s very own Lily Zhang won the US a bronze medal in the mixed doubles category of the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals held in Houston.
25-year-old Zhang holds the distinction of being the US’ first table tennis medallist in 62 years. The last time an athlete brought a ping pong medal home to the US was in 1959, when Dick Miles bagged a men’s single bronze.
Zhang scored the momentous win alongside her partner China’s Lin Gaoyuan; the duo were one of two US-China teams entered into the championships to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ping Pong Diplomacy.
Zhang and Gaoyuan lost the semi-finals 2-3 to Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata but still managed to pull off a momentous achievement for the US, that too on home ground.
This glorious victory is a feather in the cap of Table Tennis America, Lily’s home club.
Hailong Shen, CEO of Table Tennis America (TTA), the Bay Area’s leading table tennis facility and training centre expressed his pride at a TTA alumnus representing the country on the world stage.
"Congratulations to Lily Zhang, and congratulations to both the US and Chinese delegations," said Mr. Shen.
"We at TTA believe in providing our country’s budding athletes with state-of-the art-facilities and stellar training, so they can hone their passion for ping-pong at a competitive professional level like Lily Zhang has. This is a moment of immense pride for us and shows that we’ve been moving in the right direction when it comes to coaching young table tennis players," Mr. Shen added.
Lily Zhang credited the facilities and coaching provided by TTA for being instrumental to her success. "I train seven days a week at the TTA club with varied coaches from the Bay Area. Having access to such world-class amenities definitely gave me the boost I needed to ace this game on an international level. I’m glad such sporting services exist for our youngsters and encourage their love of table tennis."
Zhang further added: "This opportunity to represent my country and pair with Lin for the Mixed Doubles Event to celebrate 50 years since Ping Pong Diplomacy was such a great honor. Winning the medal was the icing on the cake."
Lily Zhang’s win is a defining moment for the sport of table tennis in the US, says Virginia Sung, CEO of USATT, the national governing body for table tennis in the US.
"We are so proud of Lily Zhang for bringing a medal home to the US after more than 60 years. Lily is an inspiration for everyone as she has carried the torch of hope and victory for the sport of table tennis in the United States. We hope this medal defines the beginning of many more successes to come," said Ms. Sung.
Lily was also lauded by high-end table tennis equipment brand JOOLA. "JOOLA has been Lily’s equipment sponsor since the beginning, and we are proud of her performance at the World Championships," said Richard Lee, president of JOOLA.
About Table Tennis America
Table Tennis America (TTA) is a state-of-the-art table tennis training centre in the Bay Area that caters to players of all levels. Founded in 2015 by Hailong Shen, a top-ranking professional table tennis player from China, TTA is dedicated to providing promising young US players with world-class facilities to further develop their skills and also serves as an agent to manage the careers of professional table tennis players.
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SOURCE Table Tennis America