Rare Ping Pong Diplomacy and Training Visit by Chinese National Table Tennis Team To Triangle Table Tennis in Morrisville, NC

By Dean Johnson | Sept. 29, 2014, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

A delegation of athletes and officials from China paid a visit to the Triangle Table Tennis Center in Morrisville, North Carolina marking an extraordinary event in the history of Chinese/American relations reminiscent of the historic Ping Pong Diplomacy of 1971.

During a 3-day visit – from September 24-26 – members and coaches of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team made a one-stop visit in the United States to Triangle Table Tennis to work with aspiring table tennis athletes in developing training techniques and skills designed to improve the quality of their table tennis performance.

The 3-day visit was intense for both members of the delegation and attendees. On Wednesday the 24th, following introductions of members of the delegation, a clinic for beginners and intermediate athletes was held from 6:00 to 9:45pm. On Thursday the 25th the focus was on tips for advanced level athletes and on Friday the 26th Chinese National Team members made themselves available for clinics from 9:30am - 3:00pm. On Friday night team members treated fans to a thrilling round of exhibitions.

The mission of the Chinese delegation was to increase awareness of the lifelong health benefits of table tennis for youth and adults; they also hope to help launch a training program for local area youth that will be designed to train and nurture young table tennis talent. Local community leaders and corporate sponsors made possible much of the activities associated with this rare event.

President of Triangle Table Tennis, Ann Campbell, during her welcoming remarks, said: “On behalf of all of the members and management of Triangle Table Tennis, it is my privilege and pleasure to welcome this delegation from the Chinese National Team, as well as all of the visitors who are participating in this special occasion. We are delighted and honored that you have joined us for three days of exhibitions, training, and cultural exchange. We hope that you will enjoy all of the specialized features offered by Triangle Table Tennis, the largest dedicated table tennis facility in the U.S. Our members and the entire Triangle Table Tennis team look forward to all of our planned activities this week, and to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Chinese National Team that we hope will include additional visits in the future. We recognize the importance to our sport and to the Town of Morrisville to having this delegation from China here. We are truly honored to be selected to host this event.”

During his opening remarks, Dr. Michael Babuin, Chairman of the Board, USA Table Tennis added: “USA Table Tennis is excited and extremely honored to host a delegation of athletes, coaches. and dignitaries from the Chinese National Team representing the Chinese Table Tennis Association and Peoples Republic of China. It is indeed a rare occasion when athletes from the United States have the opportunity to interact and learn from these amazing athletes who represent the very best table tennis professionals in the world.

Our local affiliated USATT Club – the Triangle Table Tennis Center, has graciously extended its hospitality to this group on behalf of USA Table Tennis. We hope that participants enrolled in the clinics will take valuable knowledge home with them as well as fond memories of this most historic visit. For non-participatory spectators, we hope you can enjoy watching the exhibition and magnificent skills of our friends from China as they demonstrate how the sport is played at the highest levels.”

Another notable event on Wednesday was the announcement of the establishment of the Sino-US CEO Table Tennis Association (CEOTTA) which was recently formed by entrepreneurs from both China and the U.S. CEOTTA’s mission, according to the organization’s representative Maggie Zhang, is: “to nurture and popularize table tennis in the U.S. as a sport that offers both physical and mental health benefits such as quick reflexes and footwork, hand/eye coordination, patience and perseverance.”

“Our organization,” she continued, “will promote the development of the sport in both countries and help to build bridges for Sino-US business opportunities and mutual cooperation. We will help businesses establish and set-up recreational table tennis rooms at the workplace to be used for appropriate leisure time, team building, and enhanced company morale as well as tor building an enterprise culture. We will also encourage regular business networking meetings, professional training opportunities, creation of promotional films, table tennis tournament organization, and leagues for members of the organizations in the U.S. and China. We welcome the participation of corporations in both China and the U.S.” Sino-US CEO Table Tennis Association was a co-organizer of the event.

Triangle Table Tennis is a 30,000 sq. ft. dedicated table tennis training and competition center, conveniently located in the heart of the Research Triangle area of North Carolina near the RDU airport. We're open 7 days – approximately 80 hours per week – and we’re proud to serve both elite and recreational athletes. We have over 30 Butterfly Centerfold competition tables, GerflorTarallex 6.2 mm sport flooring, high intensity (over 1,000 lux) lighting, robots. cardio and strength fitness equipment, a break room, wi-fi, fully stocked pro shop, locker rooms with showers, and spectator seating. We offer private and group lessons, camps, leagues, tournaments, special and corporate events, court reservations, and open play, all of which is managed and led by our professional staff and expert coaches, including former Olympians and current USATT Board members. Triangle Table Tennis has flexible membership options, and is open to drop-in visitors for a daily fee.

Triangle Table Tennis Ping Pong Diplomacy

Standing (l-r) Ms Tong Feiming, Head Coach, Triangle Table Tennis, REN Guoliang Chinese Women’s Team Coach, MA Junfeng, Chinese Men’s Team Coach, Ms Ann Campbell, President Triangle Table Tennis, Dr. Michael Babuin, Chairman of the Board, USA Table Tennis, LU Yuansheng, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Table Tennis Association.

Front Row (l-r) FANG Bo, WU Hao, FENG Yalan, WEN Jia, MU Zi. (far right) Ms LIU Yi, Deputy Secretary General of the Chinese Table Tennis Association. Photo by Dean Johnson


Triangle Table Tennis Ping Pong Diplomacy

Ceremony announcing the establishment of the Sino-US CEO Table Tennis Association (CEOTTA) (l-r) LU Yuansheng, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, Dr. Michael Babuin, Chairman of the Board, USA Table Tennis, Ms Tong Feiming, Head Coach, Triangle Table Tennis, Ms Maggie Zhang, representative, CEOTTA, Ms Ann Campbell, President Triangle Table Tennis. Photo by Dean Johnson