Monday 31 October 2011

What makes the Chinese so Dominant? Take 2: The Professionals Speak

Here is a list of quotes from my interviews with international players about why the Chinese continue time and time again to win international titles, top the rankings and remain the dominant force in world table tennis. 

China dominates at the 2008 Beijing Games
Image Courtesy of Xinhua News

'Because they start very young and they have very good organisation for this sport. They work a lot for this and the coaches are top.' 
Gionis Panagiotis - Greek National Mens Team

'Simply, this is the national sport in the biggest country in the World (population).' 
Jean Michel Saive - 1994 European Champion and Former World Number 1

'They are very athletic, unbelievable power in their strokes and mentally, they are very strong' 
Patrick Franziska - 2010 European Youth Champion

'Chinese work harder, are more professional, more organised, also they have many more players. Most of the top Europeans live far away from each other, we should practice more together like the Chinese do, this seems to work for them and is something we lack.' 
Vladimir Samsonov - 3 Time World Cup Winner and Former World Number 1

They have: traditions, good system, good history, knowledge and money. Combine this with a BIG number of players. The status of table tennis is high in China. Parents are dreaming of having future champions. All these things make the competition inside the country very hard. This drives the level of the sport up!!' 
Peter Karlsson - Swedish National Coach and 2000 European Champion

'Imagine creating the best athlete and then re-producing that athlete over and over again. And only modifying the system based on the next perfect athlete. The Chinese use this system right across as many locations in the country and reproduce the system in different tiers.' 
Simon Gerada - 2000 Oceania Champion

'Numbers and dedication. If you've got millions of people who are desperate enough to do whatever they can to succeed then you've got a winning recipe. Most other countries rely on a handful of players who are serious enough to do what it takes.' William Henzell - 3 Time Oceania Champion

These are things which are being raised time and time again. The sooner the rest of the world can move towards this seemingly flawless system of producing World Class players the better. I think the population issue is a big advantage for China, but imagine if a country like the United States adopted a training programme like the Chinese. Unfortunately with Table Tennis such an overshadowed sport in the States by Football, Golf and Basketball along with many other sports, the Chinese do hold that every lingering advantage of having table tennis as their national sport. As Henzell said though in comparison we seem to have a group of serious players in each country trying to compete to this end. It can work, Sweden were vastly successful with a much smaller number of players than China back in the 70s and 80s but the problem as we are seeing now is that the pool of players diminishes and is sometimes not replenished, where China is overflowing with new players all over the country, and not just players, amazing coaches too.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. On this interesting topic I have written in my blog an article, I've tried to make a full analysis of the Chinese supremacy, it was October 2008, that article was also published by USATT magazine. If you have sometime to read it, this is the link:

  3. creating the best athlete and then re-producing that athlete over and over again. Player has to do his best, like wise system/organisation also need to do its best.


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