Table tennis is a popular sport that has been dominated by China for many years. Many people are wondering how can this be? What is the cause that makes China almost winning in all the world table tennis tournaments?
For young guns, China does not fade to black, they have many talented young guns on their way to the top, with many already at the top.
image source: supchina.com
Well, you probably saying, “China has always ruled the table tennis world, what would be different now?” Well, never before have I saw one country dominate a sport as much as this. Canada may be hockey central, but many times they have been beaten by the Czech Republic, Russia, USA, Sweden, or Finland. This is just not the case for China in table tennis.
3 Important Reasons We need to Know
To figure out, we need to dig some history of the table tennis development in this country. We need to know why is table tennis becoming China’s national sport and not football or basketball? Well, there are three important reasons:
1. China’s table tennis has won a huge honor for the country
Before the founding of New China, China never won a world championship. After participating in three Olympic Games, no one wins any medal from the game. Foreigners ridiculed the Chinese as “Sick Man of East Asia.”
After the founding of New China, the then president of China, Mao Zedong, called for “development of sports to enhance the people’s physical fitness”.
To participate in the calling of their president, table tennis is the game that chooses by most people and it starts to contiguous very fast and start to play by the people all over the country.
In 1959, table tennis player Rong Guotuan won the first world championship for China! Such victory was an eye-catching event for the world and China people are uplifting! Since then, China’s table tennis has been prosperous.
2. table tennis has contributed to China’s long-term stability of internal security
There are many reports in the newspaper about commemorating of “ping pong diplomacy.” It is said that during the 31st World Table Tennis Championships in 1971, Chinese player Zhuang Zedong was playing with American athlete Glenn Cowan.
After that, the then China president Mao Zedong seized this opportunity and invited the American table tennis team to visit China to break the blockade of China by international hostile forces and achieved the historical story of “ping pong diplomacy”.
From 1949 to 1971, only 34 countries established diplomatic relations with China. After ping-pong diplomacy, more than 100 countries were established the diplomatic relations with China between 1971 and 1979.
In particular, in 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 76 votes in favor of the restoration of China legitimate seat in the United Nations. Therefore, some people praised China with “little silver ball turned the earth”.
3. Table tennis is very popular in China and is loved by Chinese people
The conditions for playing table tennis are not harsh and can be highly participatory. Men, women and children, all can play the game. The game can be played indoors and outdoors, It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor.
If you can afford to buy a table tennis table, then you can play with a real table tennis table. If you can’t afford it, you can play with a cement or concrete table. If there is no table tennis table, you can still play by combining a few of normal tables.
You can play outdoor when the weather is good, and you play indoor when there is strong winds and heavy snow outside.
Moreover, ping-pong is a full-body exercise that can make you mentally and physically healthy. Compared with sports such as football or basketball, it has no direct physical confrontation. So it can reduce the chance for you to get injured.
Also, You can control the amount of exercise, which is very conducive to popularization.
In short, this sport is particularly suitable for China’s national conditions and it has been widely loved by the Chinese people.
Why table tennis is so popular in China
1. China has an excellent base of table tennis. There are many people playing the game in the country.
2. This exercise has lower requirements for physical strength and stamina. The sport requires higher flexibility and agility, which is very suitable for Asians.
Table tennis’s physical quality requirements are different from other sports. It is not dependent on speed and strength to win. Asian bones are flexible and ideal for table tennis.
3, The career path is relatively good. There are many table tennis players, such as Cai Zhenhua, Deng Yaping, Liu Guoliang, etc., have a good career in different fields, so there are many people who are willing to participate in this sport.
4, The athlete echelon construction is good. There are many excellent table tennis players of all ages. In many places in China, there are local teams, table tennis teams, clubs, etc. Thus, the reserve power is quite sufficient.
5. There is a team of high-level coaches. The details of the techniques are carefully studied and analyzed. For many top players, after they retired, many of them became coaches. The excellent skills, tactics, and sports traditions of this sport were gradually passed down.
A Sport that is Participated by All Walk of Life in China
In the 1960s, China won consecutive championships in the world’s major table tennis competitions. For the Chinese people who have been subjected to external oppression for a long time, this is definitely a big and astounding event. New China hopes to use table tennis as a breakthrough to gain respect and recognition by the international community.
Gradually, the government started to pay attention to table tennis. Even the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States is also based on table tennis competitions.
Compared with other countries, table tennis is a sport that is participated by all walk of life in China. With hundreds of millions of people playing ping pong, there is no need to worry about the reserve forces.
The low requirements for development and strong participation are important reasons for the popularity of Chinese table tennis. Compared with sports such as football, basketball, and golf, table tennis is suitable for both men and women.
Also, the requirements for equipment are not high, and there is no need for a spaces sports venue. This is very important for China, where per capita land is scarce.
A sport to play with skill and intelligence
Since ancient times, China has not advocated brute force, instead, they are advocating practical skill and wisdom. Therefore, table tennis is very suitable for the national character of the Chinese.
Table tennis is not a very competitive sport in the world
Even if the athletes are not talented, they can become excellent table tennis players with consistent training and hard work. And compared to other sports, the training mechanism of Chinese table tennis is quite advanced.
Development of the table tennis market
Table tennis has become a national sport and this is naturally attracting the attention of the people. Even if you are not engaged in table tennis, many people are still participating in table tennis training. With high attention and high participation, the entire table tennis market has gradually developed in China.
When it comes to table tennis, we will need to mention a manufacturer who manufactures table tennis equipment in China, and the company is known as DHS.
As the first company to sponsor the Chinese table tennis team, they cooperated with international organizations and enterprises, not only promoted the Chinese table tennis but also made great contributions to the improvement of table tennis equipment.
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The development of the league
Compared with other sports, China’s table tennis league is relatively mature, and it has developed rapidly in recent years, attracting many outstanding foreign players to join. This is also a great help to the exchange of table tennis technology.
Why Table Tennis is not Popular in Western Countries?
After we know why the table tennis sport is popular in China, now we should talk about why this sport is not gaining popularity in most of the western countries?
Table tennis is far from being a fully competitive sport in the world. The most sporting nation-state in the world has no interest in it.
Table tennis in China is like cricket in India and Sepak Takraw in Malaysia. Although the development level of table tennis in the world is higher than that of cricket and Sepak Takraw, the fact is almost similar.
Most Countries Won’t Take Serious About This Sport
Why table tennis can’t be a fully competitive sport, and ultimately the essence of China’s monopoly is nothing more than two points:
1. The internal cause of this sport
Table tennis is too inferior and doesn’t have a strong sense of appreciation compared to other mainstream sports like soccer and basketball. It is difficult to attract a large number of viewers, and it is naturally difficult to generate decent revenue.
And the physical confrontation of soccer or basketball is far stronger than table tennis. For most people in western countries, table tennis is still a casual game that should only play in the backyard. Most of them just think that it shouldn’t reach the level of an international match.
The lack of a market will inevitably make it difficult to form a real professional game. Since playing table tennis is not a real profession, it is rather hard for people from other countries to fully engage with the game.
2. External economic issue
The income of table tennis is relatively low compared to other mainstream sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, boxing, golf, tennis, etc. Talented teenagers simply do not bother to play.
The former famous table tennis player from Sweden, Waldner Jan Ove, ever said that Swedish sports talents are not keen on playing table tennis, they prefer to go to play soccer, tennis, and basketball instead.
If you take a look at how lucrative it is for football and basketball, and then look back at table tennis, you will understand why the most athletic talents of most western countries are less interested to get involved in this sport.
Many people say that China is monopolizing the table tennis sports for many years and make other countries feel that there is no hope to win the championship, which makes it difficult for table tennis to develop in other countries.
Well, I would think that this claimed is quite ridiculous. We can see that the United States is monopolizing the basketball, but still many countries are having a lot of athletes who are involved in this sport.
While for soccer, the level of playing is quite left behind for Asia countries. But still, there are many people keen on playing soccer in their countries. Their enthusiasm for soccer is very high, can this be explained by the probability theory of winning the championship?
There are also those who say that Chinese people are naturally suitable for playing table tennis and not other foreigners. This is just another ridiculous claim.
Don’t forget that it was the Japanese who invented the arc ball and the corresponding sponge rubber. It can be said that the arc ball once again “invented” table tennis and introduced table tennis into another world.
The Koreans materialized the modernization of the penhold arc ball techniques. The famous players who mastered the skill are Yoo Nam-kyu and Kim Taek Soo. When Ma Lin’s debut in world table tennis championship, his skill was left behind of these Korea players.
For the shakehand techniques, it has almost monopolized by Europe countries. Even today’s loop and drive techniques were also invented in Europe.
But this sport is just not grabbing enough of eyeballs from the audience in most of the countries other than China. Therefore, this sport is just not so attractive in most of these people’s eyes and so not many people are keen on watching or playing it.