Sports

National high performance table tennis centre sets up shop at oval

 Mo Zhang, Canada’s top-ranked female player, will be training at the new National Women’s High Performance Table Tennis Centre at the Richmond Olympic Oval. - Katya Slepian photo
Mo Zhang, Canada’s top-ranked female player, will be training at the new National Women’s High Performance Table Tennis Centre at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
— image credit: Katya Slepian photo

High performance table tennis has come to the Richmond Olympic Oval, bringing with it the highest-ranked female player in the country.

Mo Zhang, Canada’s top-ranked female player, will be training at the new National Women’s High Performance Table Tennis Centre along with other up and coming athletes.

“Our city boasts a rich tradition of athletic excellence,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said at Thursday morning’s opening.  “(And) the table tennis high performance training centre is sure to add to that tradition of success.”

Claude Tchao, the president of the Chinese Canadian Table Tennis Federation, said that he was excited to work alongside Table Tennis Canada  to “raise and produce the next international high calibre champions” at the new facility.

Zhang squared off against Canada’s top U-12 table tennis prospect and Richmond Olympic Oval trainee, Laura Lai, in a short exhibition game. Lai hopes to represent Canada in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The centre, which was created in partnership with the Chinese Table Tennis Federation and Table Tennis Canada, will boast head coach Liu Yonjiang, the former head coach of Table Tennis Canada’s women’s cadet program, as well as sports medicine and nutrition personnel. Players will also have the unique opportunity to train alongside the Chinese table tennis team that come to train at the oval.

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