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USA Junior Girls Team , August 7-22, 2005, from the Zheng Ding Internatinal Training Center, China
by Lily Yip, USATT Vice Pres., Coach of US Jr. Girls Team
Front Row: Barbara Wei, Judy Hugh, Olena Sowers, Stephanie Shih Back Row: Lily Yip, Training Center Chairman, Mr. Wang, Zhong Hai (picture in China)
Juniors are our hope for the future. Our team consisting of: Judy Hugh, BarbaraWei, Sower Olena and Stephan Shih made the most of this training by working hard and diligently through two or three Chinese style multi-ball training sessions daily. The results were observable, substantial progress. They, also, proved that the USA women can match the intense work ethic of the Chinese players and get similar results if given the opportunity.
What were the conditions like in Ping Ping King Country? Nothing short of phenomenal. We trained at the elite Zheng Ding International Table Tennis Training Center, the very same training center where the Chinese National Team conducts its secret training sessions prior to the big events, the Asian Games, the Olympics, and the World Championships. Every court is in perfect conition , judged from the most exacting standards. Just being there in that ultimate environment is highly motivational and inspiring. (How could one be on that court and not give it 110%???)
The rigorous training of our team was balanced with lots of fun, too: shopping, sightseeing in Beijing City, visiting the famous Summer Palace, and enjoying the sumptious delicacies of Pekng Duck and other culinary delights. Special thanks goes to Mr. Wong Qing Guang , the Chairman of the ZDI Training Center, who supported us in every possible way with transportation, excellent food, superb practice partners, and a welcoming dinner party. Thanks to his kindness and hospitality, our training was a memorable one. All team members and I agreed, this was the best place to train. The success of our training was through the coordination of Assistant Coach Zhong Hai who arranged the facilities, as well as my friends Santos Shih, Peter Wei, and Dan Kramer who donated funds that enabled us to be more successful, and, of course, the USATT Women's Committee who funded our airfare to China.
A regular, carefully planned schedule of training sessions of this caliber can help catapult our USA Women into the elite eschalon of world class women's table tennis. Of course, we need a regular , carefully planned schedule of international tournament competitions, as well, to compete among the best. In my opinion, "Is China unbeatable?" , should not be our focal point. To be realistic we should ask, "What steps should the USATT take to enable our USA Women's Nation Team to compete as one of the top eschalon teams. Once we achieve that, our coaches and USATT will be in a position to get us to the next level.
Also, in my opinion, we need an attitude adjustment towards women's table tennis in the USA. This is not to brag, but some of our top female players can already challenge our top male players; yet the men's prize money is currently about ten times more than the women's. This situation of financial inequity certainly has been a major factor in discouraging our women from competing and pursuing careers as tt professionals. To put it another way, " Why should a young , talented female athlete dedicate herself to a sport that lacks rewards, especially in a society where money means everything?" There are lots of competing avenues to pursue.
(Come on USATT members, think about that! Lily)