Table Tennis Inseparable Part of Life for 2014 US National Junior Teams Champion Tina Lin
by Barbara Wei
Rising high school senior, Tina Lin started playing table tennis almost a decade ago and has never looked back. She first began training seriously when she attended a camp with her current coach Lily Yip and has continued with the “first family” of table tennis (Lily Yip, Adam Hugh, Judy Hugh and Barry Dattel) ever since. The cheery and yet introspective teenager has racked up many titles and awards, including 2012 National Junior Champion, 2013 World Championships US Team Member and 2014 National Junior Teams Champion. Just last week, Tina successfully qualified for the US National Junior Team by finishing second to Crystal Wang in the Junior Team Trials at the 2015 US Open.
At first, table tennis was a way for Tina to make new friends and learn a different skill, but it quickly became much more. Tina says that her table tennis friends and coaches are “her second family”, and “when [she’s] not at school or home, [the table tennis club] is where [she is]”. Having grown up training at the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center (LYTTC) in Dunellen, New Jersey and competing across the country and globe, Tina feels a special bond with her table tennis community. She also credits table tennis for helping her stay motivated, developing her competitive spirit and teaching her how to cope with high pressure situations both on the table and off.
Tina poignantly remembers the 2013 North American Championships as a time when her motivation, competitive spirit and mental coolness were put to the test. As the top seed in the Cadet Girls event, Tina lost her opening match to Canadian Cherry Zheng (the lowest seed). A tough loss for the young American at the time, but she came back the next day to win the title by beating everyone else in the group. Her motto after the event became “one downfall doesn’t determine who the best in the end is”.
Today, Tina continues to train at LYTTC 7 days a week with a mix of private/group lessons and league/match play. She has no plans of slowing down her table tennis career and hopes to attend a university which can push her both academically and athletically. Like many other high school seniors, she’s looking forward to high school prom, but also has her eyes set on qualifying for the 2016 National and Olympic Teams.