It was a great honor for the United States National Team, who are currently in Budapest awaiting the start of the 2019 World Table Tennis Championships, to have the grand opportunity to train with the best players in the world from China.
In a show of unity in table tennis, which has been an ever-important part of diplomatic relations between the USA and China for decades. the Chinese National Team lent some of its champions to help the USA prepare for their matches.
The likes of World and Olympic Champions Ma Long and Ding Ning were present, World Cup Champions Liu Shiwen and Fan Zhendong, along with a host of Chinese National Team players. It was an unworldly opportunity for the rising talents from the USA, who were praised by Chinese National Team Coach Liu Guoliang for their ever-rising presence in World table tennis.
While Kanak Jha, currently ranked 38 in the world, gave his all in practice with defending World Champion Ma Long, he said it was an exciting but intimidating experience - there was certainly a buzz among the players at this opportunity, one which is rarely shared with other nations.
China Head Coach Liu Guoliang was gifted with specially crafted commemorative awards by USOC representative Dragomir Cioroslan, along with his wife Sheri - a former President of USATT.
The team, aside from gaining the honor of training with the best players in the competition, were also personally introduced to Coach Liu. He greeted them all warmly and exuded a very kind and friendly persona.
Certainly it was an experience the team will not forget, and hopefully puts them in fine form as the competition begins tomorrow. As friends across the table yesterday, perhaps they will momentarily meet as foes in the spirit of competition later in the tournament.
Our deepest appreciation to the Chinese National Team delegation for their show of unity with the USA.