Already a looming giant in the world of table tennis, China furthers their grasp on their national sport with the approaching debut of a large-scale program designed to partner local schools with the Sichuan Table Tennis Association. Expected to officially launch in November 2019, the program will first plant its roots in Chengdu, China, home of the famous panda bears and mouthwatering spicy foods.
Over the summer, JOOLA’s very own coach, Jeffrey Zeng, accepted the responsibility to facilitate and manage the promotion of the new Chengdu Schools Table Tennis Program. A native of Chengdu, China, Zeng arrived to the United States 8 years ago in 2011 and found great success coaching at the Maryland Table Tennis Center (MDTTC) ever since. Additionally, he works closely with the United States Table Tennis Association (USATT), recently even coaching JOOLA athletes Lily Zhang and Yue Wu to historical success at the 2019 Women’s World Cup held in Chengdu, China.
While Zeng thoroughly enjoyed his time and work in states, he has returned to his hometown in order to fully support the highly anticipated takeoff of the Chengdu schools table tennis program. His responsibilities include assessment of the coaches’ training and evaluation of schools that want to apply for the program. Once these preliminary aspects of the project are carefully judged and evaluated, the coaches can then be assigned to the schools as a means to promote the spread and popularization of table tennis in the nation.
As a former Sichuan provincial team member and high-level professional table tennis player himself, Zeng holds tremendous hope and excitement for the future of table tennis in China, stating “I hope that more children will get to know table tennis in this project, including understanding the reasons why table tennis is the national sport in China.”
Moreover, Zeng believes that the program will broaden and improve China’s already massive pool of talented table tennis athletes. With the introduction of table tennis into schools, he imagines that students will have the opportunity to find time away from electronics and devote energy toward the old-fashioned, but effective ways of sport. “Children can get physical and mental exercise while their parents can be rest assured that children will not have so much time to play mobile or computer games,” said Zeng. “In addition, we can offer jobs to more grassroots coaches and can select more outstanding players for the professional teams.”
Following the launch of the program, JOOLA will cooperate with the Sichuan Table Tennis Association and support the program by providing the necessary equipment and products for the schools, including JOOLA tables, barriers, balls and more. Positioned in the pinnacle country of table tennis, the Chengdu Schools Table Tennis Program stands out as a new and exciting chapter in table tennis, expected to create unique growth and popularity in the sport.
Finally, as an avid supporter of table tennis in the United States, Zeng also believes that the United States, along with other countries in the table tennis world, can study the inner workings and results of the program. “I think other countries can learn a lot [from this program], particularly on how to market table tennis and influence more people to participate in the sport. As a result, everyone, including the students, parents, schools, clubs, and government, can benefit together.”