The week of the stars of China

06.05.2011

China's table tennis superstars have arrived in Rotterdam, where the GAC Group World Table Tennis Championships will open on Sunday.  Giving them strength was a training week in the Werner Schlager Academy located in Schwechat, an experience that left deep impressions.

 

Here are some highlights of an extraordinary week.

 

The appearance of the stars

After a week of close observation, we know why China is the undisputed leader in world table tennis.  The professionalism, team spirit, and training intensity of the players from China are matchless.  Those who have the opportunity to watch Wang Liqin, Ma Long and Xu Xin in training need to recognize that all this is from another planet.  China's stars such as Wang Hao and Li Xiaoxia were never late, were very courteous, polite, friendly and accessible to the media and autograph seekers.

 

The ladies

A little secret is revealed: In a training session only China's men played against China's women, with the ladies always starting with a 2 – 0 advantage.  The final score was 11:9 for the gentlemen.  Notable results: Wang Liqin, world champion in singles in 2001, 2005, and 2007 and vice world champion in 2009 lost against Ding Ning (world #3).  Liu Shiwen beats world champion Wang Hao.  The smooth defender Wu Yang made it difficult for all the Chinese men (as well as Portugal's Joao Monteiro in a practice match.)  Who is it these Chinese women can not beat?

 

The media

The training week of the stars of China was not only in a major media rainfall for Austria, but also in the world table tennis-specific media (ittf.com, ettu.org, tischtennis.de) and in China.  Xinhua TV was making a huge contribution with agency reports sent to all over Asia.  Many inquiries were made of Liu Yan Jun, Austrian women's coach and coach of WSA partner club SVS STRÖCK, such as “Where is Schwechat?” “Where exactly is the Werner Schlager Academy?”, and “Can we have pictures?”

 

China-Austrian Friendship Evening

We have used the visitation of China's team to organize a China-Austrian Friendship evening.  Representatives from the political, economic, media, and the Chinese Embassy in Vienna came and listened with great pleasure to the praise the Chinese delegation gave to people like Werner Schlager.  Men's head coach Liu Guoliang thanked all involved for a perfect organization of the training week and described the WSA as “the best training center in Europe.”  “To many here, we envy you, even in China.” said Liu Guoliang.

 

The WSA players

Our agreement with China's leadership team permitted four WSA players to participate in the training sessions.  They were: Daniela Dodean and Li Qiangbing (both SVS STRÖCK), Joao Monteiro (Portugal) and former Chinese national team member Chen Weixing (SVS Niederösterreich).  In addition, we were able to twice have informal training sessions with Daniel Habsohn and Stefan Fegerl.  The training they experienced will benefit them greatly and it made a deep impression in the (sports) life.

 

In the final analysis, it was a week of superlatives and the beginning of a lasting friendship and partnership between China's table tennis team and the WSA.  Soon, we hope to see their team again in Schwechat and, on the other hand, we have been sent an invitation to train at the University in Shanghai.  We will certainly take advantage of this generous offer.

 
Martin Sörös
WSA Manager

 

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