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Wang Nan
2008-04-15 16:40:04     CRIENGLISH.com

    [Photo source: 163.com]

The 49th World Table Tennis Championships was held last week in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou. The Chinese women's squad won the team championship and took the Corbillon Cup for the 8th consecutive year. Wang Nan, the famous Chinese player, also took an impressive 23rd world championship at just 29 years old. Today, we are going to explore the story of China's top female table tennis player.. Here's our reporter Shuangfeng.

Wang Nan was born in the northeastern Liaoning province. She started playing table tennis at the age of 7, and was the youngest player in the national team when she joined at just 15. Left-handed, Wang Nan has a specific skill for speed, loop drive, and change of placement during rallies.

In 1994, Wang Nan won her first singles champion at the Swedish Open. Following that, she soon became the top table tennis player in the world and remained No. 1 in the International Table Tennis Federal world rankings from 1999 to 2002. She achieved great success in various matches such as the Olympics, World Cup Table Tennis Match, and the World Table Tennis Championships. After winning two gold medals in both singles and doubles in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she became the second Chinese player to make a clean sweep of all major titles in singles following in the footsteps of veteran player Deng Yaping.

[Photo source: bjradio.com]

However, in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, Wang Nan suffered a serious defeat, losing two finals in the women's team games along with the singles and doubles. Public criticism said she was inactive and unconfident. She felt extremely frustrated.

"After the Asian Games, I thought about retirement. I thought it was impossible for me to resume again."
The national team asked Wang Nan to take a break. During that period, she received a lot of encouragement from her coaches, team members and her family. The failure made her wonder if she was psychologically capable of facing the ups and downs.

Later she found that she could not lead a life without table tennis and was still deeply attached to it. She returned to the training court with hope of regaining her form.

"I eagerly looked forward to the next match. I wanted to prove that I am still the best."

One year later, in the 2003 World Table Tennis Championships in Paris, Wang Nan successfully won three gold medals in Singles, Doubles and Mixed-Doubles. She won her 3rd title as World Singles champion and the 4th nod as Doubles champion. She therefore became the first player to win 7 world champion titles in the history of table tennis, even bettering her predecessor Deng Yaping.

Wang Nan failed to retain her single crown in the 2004 Olympics, but excelled in the doubles, claiming the gold medal together with Zhang Yining. Having experienced a number of extreme successes and failures, Wang Nan has developed a good attitude with which to face her games.

"If I got the champion, I would be very happy and felt that all the efforts I have made were not in vain. But if I failed, I would not feel sorry because I have strived for it."

[Photo source: baidu.com]

Younger players like Zhang Yining, Guoyue and Li Xiaoxia have rapidly matured and are gradually becoming the new backbone of China's table tennis team. However, with her long-lasting strength and stamina, Wang Nan has kept herself among the top players despite being comparatively older. In various matches, her performance was spectacular, especially in the team competition when Wang Nan proves she is the key asset for team success. Coach of the Chinese female table tennis team, Shi Zhihao, comments that Wang Nan is the spiritual support to the other players in the team.

"Wang Nan plays a significant role in pacifying the other members and keeping the morale of the whole team high. She has skills and tactics, more importantly, she has abundant experience."

Wan Nan is currently training hard to prepare for the coming Olympics. This might be her last match before retirement. She is also currently working as a coach for the national team. Speaking about the 2008 Olympics, Wang Nan is full of expectations and hopes it will be the perfect finish to her career as a table tennis player.

"My biggest goal is to attend the 2008 Olympics. I hope I can get gold medals together with my team members. It will leave a beautiful memory in the rest of my life."




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