USA and China Celebrate Diplomacy and WTTC Bids

By Matt Hetherington | April 22, 2019, 2:21 a.m. (ET)

The US and China delegations are putting diplomacy at the forefront of their visit here to Budapest for the 2019 World Table Tennis Championships, with the phrase "Friendship comes first, Competition comes second". As both delegations met for a celebratory reception last night at the Corinthia Hotel. 

With a plethora of esteemed guests, the event was focused on the commemoration of the role of table tennis in China and USA's diplomatic relations, and also to mark the bids for the 2021 (Houston) and 2022 (Chengdu) World Championships.

With representatives from the Houston Sports Authority and Chengdu's Bid team presenting some background on their cities, the aim was to muster joint support for the two bids, and the endorsements came from some incredibly respected figures.

Proceedings were launched under the guidance of USOC's Dragomir Cioroslan with speeches from USATT Board of Directors Chair Anne Warner Cribbs and Head of the CTTA Liu Guoliang. The two exchanged gifts and expressed their joy at how special table tennis has become in unifying the two teams and countries, as well as emphasizing their support of Houston and Chengdu's bids.

The Houston Sports Authority had a very special message for the gathered guests, from the Champion of their bid, world class basketball star Yao Ming - a native of China who represented the Houston Rockets in the NBA. Yao is thrilled for the two bids and wishes for success for both 2021 and 2022.

One of the most special moments was an empowering speech of support from none other than Chris Nixon Cox, the grandson of the 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon. It was a true honor to have him here also supporting both bids.

There were many special presentations, including the swapping of signed rackets between Judy Hoarfrost, a member of the original US Ping Pong Diplomacy team in 1971, and current world number 2 and native of Chengdu, Zhu Yuling. 

The presentations ended with both delegations standing together, along with ITTF President Thomas Weikert and the flags of both USA and China together on stage. 

We sincerely hope the guest enjoyed attending and can only impress our profound support for the World Championship bids of both Houston 2021 and Chengdu 2022!