Inspiring Olympic champions of China in women's table tennis event
Chen Jing of China competes on her way to winning the first gold medal in the Olympic table tennis women's singles event in Seoul, South Korea, October 1, 1988. /CFP
Deng Yaping (C) of China wins the gold medal during the Olympic women's table tennis singles event in Atlanta, U.S., 1996. /CFP
Wang Nan (C) of China wins the women's table tennis singles title at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. /CFP
Zhang Yining (C) shows her gold medal after winning the Olympic women's table tennis singles event in Athens, Greece, August 22, 2004. /CFP
Li Xiaoxia of China celebrates after winning the Olympic women's table tennis singles final in London, England, August 1, 2012. /CFP
The Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) recently announced that it would stage an Olympic simulation competition in early May.
The 2021 World Table Tennis (WTT) Grand Smashes Trials and Olympic Simulation will be staged in Xinxiang, central China's Henan Province, between May 3 and 7. The move comes less than 90 days before the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
A total of 36 men's and women's singles players and 16 mixed doubles pairs will feature at the WTT event.
The CTTA has selected participants using a wide range of parameters, including players qualifying for the singles final stage of China's 14th National Games, men's and women's singles finalists at the 2020 National Junior Championships (U18 and U15 categories), and those qualifying through the trials.
According to the CTTA, this arrangement aims to develop young players of different ages in a planned manner, focusing on the Tokyo Olympics preparation and long-term selection and preparation for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
"The CTTA is not merely focusing on the Tokyo Olympics. We are also attempting to select and nurture talent for the Paris Olympics and beyond," CTTA President Liu Guoliang said.
"Those who can win tickets to the 2021 WTT Smashes Trials are the best players of their age groups now in China. And I believe they will grow to become the best table tennis players in the world."
The pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics are set to start on July 23.
Asian powerhouse China have won all but four of the 32 table tennis gold medals since the sport was first included at the Olympics in Seoul in 1988.
(With input from agencies)