USA Women's Team with Olympic Gold Medalist Ding Ning, Training with China Earlier This Week
TeamUSA Ready to Do Battle in Olympic Table Tennis Team Event
The singles event is all but concluded but tomorrow brings the thrill of the table tennis team event. Four players from the team have had their stab at competition and will be joined by a further two as the Men's and Women's National teams head into the fray among the World's best.
The US Women's Team will face Germany, while the Men's Team head off against Sweden.
While we have heard a lot from the individuals competitors this week, we took some time to catch up with team players Jiaqi Zheng and Timothy Wang who will make up the third positions for the USA.
Jiaqi Zheng admits that Germany are a tough opponent but the team has been working hard to prepare, "They all are higher ranked than each of us. This isn’t the first time they have played in the Olympics so they have the experience. For young players like us, we don’t have that experience but we’re going to try our hardest and fight. We’ve been practicing against other choppers and lefties, so that we are familiar with those styles come Friday. I’m a short pips player, so my teammates can play against me to get a little more familiar. Each night, we watch videos of them and their past matches. It helps us study how they do things in certain match situations. Hopefully, we can piece it all together and have success against them.”
She has been patiently waiting for her 'big moment' to get out there and compete in her first Olympics, “Yes, that big moment is coming up but it’s not here yet. I have to keep my mind active and focus on our team strategy. It’s going to be really exciting when I get to go out there for the first time. I’m really looking forward to it. This is the Olympics. It’s the highest stage of table tennis.”
For the men's team it has been Timothy Wang, coming into his second Olympic games but the first time competing in the team event, who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to represent the country. “I’m just more anxious to get out there. I’ve seen a lot of matches already and it makes me want to play. Who knows, maybe I’ll be a little nervous right when I get out there but once I get to the table I’ll be fine. Our team is doing really well preparing and warming up," says the leader of the team, “The key to beating them (Sweden) is to definitely try and get an early lead. If we can win the first game in the match then it will put a lot of pressure on them. It will make them play a little bit tight. Once they get loose or start swinging at the ball, it’s going to be hard for us to win. We just need to take the advantage early on.”
The US Olympic Teams with Coaches Massimo Costantini and Lily Yip
US Coach Massimo Costantini notes that the experience has been important for the team, citing the individual events as good motivation for the players heading into the team event and taking the results as a learning curve. He also noted that the players had been very positive following their singles losses and had been very eager to prepare for the team event and continue training sessions.
The women's team will play first at 15:00 local time tomorrow with the men following later in the evening at 19:30.
We wish Team USA the very best of luck and hope for their highest potential performance!