(By: Joanna Sung)
WTT Feeder Fremont, held in the first week of May, kicked off my month-long tournament journey. The tournament itself made history—leaving a mark as the first ever WTT Feeder Tournament held in the United States. As a player, the arrival of WTT’s tournament series in my home country brought hope and promise; hope that the sport of table tennis will continue growing in the states, becoming increasingly recognized as a respectable sport. For me personally, the tournament presented the invaluable opportunity to compete in an international level competition, minus the usual ten hour flights and nights of insomnia due to time difference. The entire experience was truly humbling. Training alongside world class players and even competing against some of the top players in the world revealed the infinite room I had to grow.
Although the Women Singles and Women’s Doubles events ended for me in the earlier rounds, the Mixed Doubles event surprisingly yielded unexpected results. A unified effort fueled with strokes of luck propelled my partner Dan Liu and I to the finals of the mixed doubles event. Receiving the medal and walking up the podium alongside the event’s champions (players I used to only see through a television screen), I felt incredibly blessed.
May 12-22 I had the opportunity to participate in yet another historic event for the US National Team. Alongside several teammates, I boarded an eleven hour flight to Normandy, France where we competed in the World Championships for high schoolers. The AAU High School Games proved to be a completely different tournament experience than expected. With over 30 sports present in the competition, my teammates and I seized the chance to meet international athletes from a variety of sports. Previous table tennis tournaments introduced me to athletes from various parts of the world but all of us shared a common trait: table tennis. In Normandy, the new friendships created exposed me to both different cultures and different athlete life stories of those in other sports.
Despite many unprecedented factors such as multiple allergic reactions to the food, starting and finishing one event in one day, not being allowed into the tournament hall until the morning of the tournament etc., we remained positive and ultimately pulled through to reach the podium. Under the guidance of Coach Maggie Tian, I received the bronze medal in both singles and girls doubles.
Thank you to USATT, Butterfly, and the AAU organization for giving me the opportunity to continue developing as a table tennis player.
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