President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, Liu Guoliang, answered questions about the team's training activities in the USA at a special table tennis event yesterday hosted by UCLA and joined by the China Consul General.
Liu points out that this is the first occasion of an organized joint training with the US players, involving a very large contingent of the Chinese National Team – 54 individuals within their team, including physical therapists, conditioning coaches, team coaches and athletes.
The team are also joined by a handful of US National team members, the likes of US Olympians Lily Zhang, Wu Yue and Feng Yijun and members of the recent gold medal Pan Am Games team Nikhil Kumar and Nick Tio.
The original invitation for the event was extended by USA Table Tennis and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, who hope to continue building relations with the Chinese Team now and in the future.
When asked why the team chose to come to the USA for training, Liu says that the conditions for practice and also the athletic atmosphere in the USA is something the team hope to take advantage of in their closed training.
So far UCLA have provided a great setting for the team environment, with the Collins Court hosting 20 tables with red flooring for the team to practice, and an exceptional gym facility and accommodations for the team.
Liu notes that these are important elements which will help the team in its preparation for the second half of the year, with events like the Asian Championships and World Cups, as well as 2020's Olympic Games next year.
Also supporting the decision to come to Los Angeles is China's responsibility as a major force in the sport to help promote and support table tennis development around the world. The CTTA President, Liu, says that training together with the US players helps achieve that goal.
Liu states that the team wishes to continue the friendship built through table tennis by generations of table tennis teams as well as the spirit of Ping Pong Diplomacy, which brought about the normalization of US-China relations 48 years ago.
He finally mentions that the CTTA will also take this opportunity to experience and learn from the US professional sports culture, one which is strong on the UCLA campus across many sports, as well as sports development in schools and clubs. They hope that these successful experiences will benefit the future development of Chinese table tennis when adapted to their own system.
USA Table Tennis are thrilled to have the team here and sharing their knowledge and training with our US team players and are thankful to Mr Liu and the Chinese Table Tennis Association for accepting our invitation to be here in the USA.