Deng Yaping-the Smallest Giant
    2009-09-29 22:10:56     CRIENGLISH.com       Web Editor: Sun Yang

Juan Antonio Samaranch, ex-President of the International Olympic Committee, presents gold medal to Deng Yaping in the 1996 Olympic Games. [File photo:Xinhuanet]

Full name: Deng Yaping

Date of birth: February, 1973

Place of birth: Zhengzhou, Henan Province

Events: table tennis

Deng Yaping is a Chinese table tennis player. She won six world championships and four Olympic championships between 1989 and 1997. Deng is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

Career

Deng began playing table tennis at the age of five. Four years later, she won the provincial junior championships. She was 13-years-old when she won her first national championship.

Despite her success, Deng was initially denied a spot on the national team because she was so short (she stood only 1.5m [4 feet 11 inches] tall). Her talent, however, could not be denied, and she was finally included on the national team in 1988. She teamed with Qiao Hong to win her first world championship title in the women's doubles competition in 1989. Two years later in 1991, Deng won her first singles world championship.

At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, she won a gold medal in both the singles and doubles competitions. She repeated the feat at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She also earned singles and doubles titles at the 1995 and 1997 world championships.

When she retired at the age of 24, she had won more titles than any other player in the sport, including four Olympic gold medals and the title of World Champion 18 times. From 1990 to 1997, she was ranked as the world¡¯s No. 1 female table tennis player for eight years. She was voted Chinese Female Athlete of the Century, and joined the International Table Tennis Federation Hall of Fame in 2003.

Life after retirement

After retiring at the end of the 1997 season, Deng served on the International Olympic Committee's Ethics Commission as well as the Athletes¡¯ Commission. She is a member of the elite Laureus World Sports Academy, and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

She earned a bachelor's degree from Tsinghua University, a Master's degree from the University of Nottingham, and in 2008 received a PhD in land economy from the University of Cambridge (Jesus College). Her thesis, ¡°The impact of the Olympic Games on Chinese development: A multi-disciplinary analysis,¡± coincided with her professional work as a member of the Beijing Organizing Committee.

In 2007, she married Lin Zhigang, also a table tennis player, and later gave birth to a baby boy.

Awards

40th World Table Tennis Championship (1989) Women's Double Gold.

1st Table Tennis World Cup (1990) Women's Team Gold.

41st World Table Tennis Championship (1991) Women's Single Gold, Women's Double Gold.

2nd Table Tennis World Cup (1991-1992) Women's Team Gold, Women's Double Gold.

25th Olympic Games (1992) Table Tennis Women's Single Gold, Women's Double Gold.

42nd World Table Tennis Championship (1993) Women's Team Gold, Women's Double Silver.

43rd World Table Tennis Championship (1995) Women's Team Gold, Women's Single Gold, Women's Double Gold, Mixed Double Silver.

4th Table Tennis World Cup (1995) Women's Team Gold

26th Olympic Games (1996) Table Tennis Women's Single Gold, Women's Double Gold.

44th World Table Tennis Championship (1997) Women's Team Gold, Women's Single Gold, Women's Double Gold, Mixed Double Silver.

(Source:China.org.cn)