Northern California Teens At World Table Tennis Championships
Two teenagers from Northern California are currently in Yokohama, Japan, representing the USA at the World Table Tennis Championships, that began on April 28th and ends on May 5th, 2009.
12-year old Lily Zhang is the youngest girl to qualify for the USA Table Tennis team in its 76-year history. Ariel Hsing, the other teen is not far behind - She is only 13. Both are being hailed as Table Tennis prodigies, in a sport that is dominated by China. The two youngsters who often practice against each other, are being coached by Dennis Dave at the Palo Alto Sports Club.
Lily started playing when she was just seven years old, and currently holds many titles, including the No 2 spot on the US Cadet team, as well as, the US Junior team. The talented player, who also enjoys swimming, reading and biking is hoping to represent the US in the 2012 Olympics in London. The teenager loves the sport and the fact that it allows her to travel all over the world and meet new people.
13-year old Ariel was also introduced to the sport at 7. By the time she turned 8, she had won her first major title. At the age of 9, she was invited for a game of table tennis to Omaha, Nebraska, by the world's two richest men - Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. She flew on Mr. Buffet's private jet and spent three hours playing with him and his investors - never losing a single game!
Table Tennis is not a very popular sport in the USA and not many people realize how much work and talent it takes to become world-class. Ariel and Lily are hoping to change that and get more young girls interested in this fun and physically challenging sport. We wish them the best in their endeavors and hope to see them in the 2012 Olympics.
sources: washingtonpost.com, joola.com, nbc.com