(Reuters) China and the United States will team up this month for the mixed doubles event at the World Table Tennis Championships final, marking the 50th anniversary of ping pong diplomacy, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said Monday.
Ping pong diplomacy was triggered by a meeting between a Chinese and an American player at the 1971 World Cup and helped restore relations between the two countries.
The meeting led to an American table tennis team being invited to China to play what the Chinese know as table tennis, eventually paving the way for US President Richard Nixons’ trip to the country in 1972.
China’s Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Manyu will team up with Americans Lily Zhang and Kanak Jha respectively at the Nov. 23-29 event in Houston, the ITTF said in a statement https://www.ittf.com/2021/11/22/ historic-china-usa-couples-enter-world-table-tennis-championships-50th-anniversary-ping-pong-diplomacy.
I am very happy to partner with Lily Zhang for the mixed doubles event, said Lin. She is the best table tennis player in the US. I’m not the best player in China yet, but our goal is to come out on top for this event.
The biggest advantage of mating with her is that she speaks Mandarin. I hope we can get into the rhythm soon, develop good chemistry and work hard for a great performance.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Nick Mulvenney and Himani Sarkar)
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