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Ping Pong Diplomacy

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There is a reason why people in China are so passionate and determined to practice ping pong. In case you don’t know, China has the best top ranked ping pong players!

Ping Pong, though it might be just a sport for many of you, was the warrant for American table tennis players to enter China after two decades. It was the Ping Pong Diplomacy that allowed Americans to play ping pong on the grounds of China.

History of Ping Pong Diplomacy

ping pong diplomacy

Image By David / CC BY 2.0

For those who have no idea what ping pong diplomacy is, here is quick insight. In simple words, it is a mere exchange of ping pong or table tennis layers between China and the United States of America.

This exchange of table tennis players between the two countries began in 1971 during the World Table Tennis Championships in Nagoya, Japan. Surprisingly it was a step taken by the ping pong players and not by the politicians.

The concept was introduced as a result of an interaction between two table tennis players from both sides, Zhuang Zedong of China and Glenn Cowan of the US. Ping pong diplomacy was the first milestone in paving the relationship between the two countries. Since then, the relationship between these countries has changed.

Ping Pong In China:

China is known to have the most numbers of ping pong, aka table tennis players all over the world. The ping pong players in china are not just ordinary players, but in fact, China has the most professional, skilled, and experienced ping pong players. Chinese have embraced the game of ping pong since the 1950s.

In 1950 ping pong was declared as the National sport of China by Chairman Mao. There were mainly three reasons for declaring ping pong as the national sport of China,

  1. It is a cheap sport that could be played.
  2. It does not require a large court area or big space to be played.
  3. In the 1950s, ping pong wasn’t so popular in the West.

Today every school and park in China has a table tennis (ping pong) table. And according to a survey, around 10 million Chinese regularly plays ping pong while 300 million Chinese play their national sport occasionally! Which explains the fact why china has the most talented, competitive, skilled, and gold medal ping pong players around the globe.

Unlike any other country, China has the most intensive ping pong training program. On average, every ping pong player in China practices the game for 7 hours daily! Their player recruiting strategy is both amazing and ruthless.

Instead of blindly selecting the top players for the national team, Chinese authorities select their national team players who have the potential to win a medal today or in the future.

Ping Pong Diplomacy Book:

Ping-Pong DiplomacyIf you want to know about the history and details of the Ping Pong Diplomacy program between China and the united states then, ale sure to read the book ‘Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World‘. All the events and circumstances that led the two countries to reach to one single point, the ping pong diplomacy is brilliantly narrated and explained in this book.

The author of this book is none other than the famous journalist and author ‘Nicholas Griffin.’ Griffin has depicted the historic occasion in the history of China-US diplomacy how the Chinese counterparts invited the US Ping Pong team to Beijing. The invitation was the first initiative to break the ice between the two states. After 22 years of conflict, both states moved towards detente.

What’s more interesting about them is the way how Griffin mixed the personal histories with ping pong diplomacy. If you are interested in reading about the strategic story of the ping pong diplomacy, then nothing is better than Nicholas Griffen’s book.

Ping Pong Diplomacy Forrest Gump:

You must have heard about the famous movie ‘The Forrest Gump.’ This movie was based on a famous novel published in 1986 by a well-known writer Winston Groom. The plot of the movie revolves around a character Forrest Gump and the second-Indochina war.

The sole reason for mentioning this movie and character here is to emphasize the importance of ping pong and ping pong diplomacy./ in the movie, when the character gum was shot in Vietnam, he practiced and learned to play ping pong during his recovery.

Within a short time, Gump mastered the game of ping pong, and he amazed his peer group. After seeing his remarkable skills in Ping Pong, Gump was sent to China under the Ping Pong Diplomacy program to play as the All-American Ping Pong Team.

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