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Pakistani table tennis talent seeks support from China to shine

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Asad Ali

– Asad Ali, 30, has been playing table tennis for the past ten years, and with each passing year not only is his interest in the game growing, but also his regret that he didn’t get the chance to start in the game sooner. life.

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“I remained the best player in my district in the Azad Kashmir region. I represented the Pakistani army in departmental games and now I am part of an academy that teaches the game to children and plays matches at the national level,” Ali said. adding that “after every success, I think if the game came into my life sooner and I had the proper training, I could have been a big name in the world.”

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Ali first got the chance to play table tennis when he entered university at the age of 20, but since there was no coach at the school, he started learning the game by watching videos of table tennis players on the internet.

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“I searched for the best table tennis players in the world on the Internet, and the list was dazzling with Chinese players. I watched their games and was more impressed by Zhang Jike. Little by little I began to copy his style and began to win intercollegiate competitions.” Ali said.

Although not as big a sport as cricket in Pakistan, table tennis is still a favorite sport at the school and university level, and is also an important part of inter-collegiate and inter-collegiate competitions.

Several private clubs are also operating in the country including in Islamabad where children of different ages learn and play as part of their routine physical exercise.

Raheela Kashi Satti, a table tennis veteran, runs a table tennis club in the G-6 sector of Islamabad, where she coaches young children who visit the club after school at night.

Satti said a large number of girls also play table tennis at her club and interest in the game in Pakistan is increasing. More and more students enroll in her club every year.

“During the pandemic, when gyms and sports clubs were closed, table tennis became famous because it is an affordable and very interesting game,” he said, adding that there are tournaments of different clubs in Islamabad which also increase the interest of the people in the game

Some of the talent in table tennis is wasted due to the absence of proper training, said Rafeeq Sarhadi, secretary of the Pakistan Table Tennis Federation, adding that if players receive the right training at the right time, their potential can be used and play important games. on an international level.

“We were once the best in table tennis in South Asia. Many players like me were trained by Chinese coaches who used to visit Pakistan and organize camps for the players,” said the 55-year-old, who was still the number two on the table. Tennis ranking in the country.

Although Pakistan is not a powerhouse on the world table tennis map, he said, the fans for the game do exist.

I was hoping there might be opportunities for some coach exchange program between the two countries for mutual benefit.

“Pakistanis are good at cricket and hockey. Our former players train players from all over the world. They can also go to China to train Chinese players, while we can invite Chinese table tennis players and other Olympians to teach us,” added the official.

Talking about the experience of the Chinese in table tennis, Asad Ali said that sometimes the federation invites Chinese engineers working in Pakistan to play with the locals and he is surprised by their skills.

“Table tennis is in the blood of the Chinese people. It’s no wonder that the international championship is easier for the Chinese than the domestic ones,” Ali said.

For 33-year-old Nabeel Ahmad, table tennis is more about maintaining his health than just a competitive sport. He plays the game every day to stay in shape.

In a conversation with Ahmad, he said that he wants his three-year-old son to start playing table tennis as it is the right age for him to start the game.

“When my son grows up, I would take him to China and train him there just like children from other countries train in China and join their national teams after they return. By doing so, my son will not only learn good table tennis , but he will also be a star player after he returns home,” Ahmad said.

Pakistani players and officials believe that good coaches should further promote table tennis at school and university levels, as it will not only have health benefits for youngsters, but students will also have a deeper association with China, which is world famous for the game. . ■

(Xinhua)

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