It’s an honor that few foreign players will have in their careers, to compete among the best table tennis athletes in the world, in the heart of the greatest table tennis nation.
For Team JOOLA’s Lily Zhang, it has become a reality. She is a member of team ITTF World Professionals – the first ever foreign team to compete together in the Chinese Super League.
Zhang recently competed in the China bubble, at the ITTF Women’s World Cup, where she reached the quarterfinals, then in the new WTT Macau test event. Instead of departing China, she was offered an amazing career opportunity.
Zhang headed to Chengdu to join the Chinese National Team, alongside her new teammates – Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei, Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico, Doi Hoi Kem of Hong Kong and Jeon Ji Hee of South Korea.
“Being able to train with the Chinese National Team and participate in the Chinese Super League is such a unique and incredible opportunity that I still can’t fully wrap my mind around. This is truly a historic moment that I will treasure forever,” says Lily, as she is boarding a flight to Guangzhou where the team will compete in their first match.
The team will take on China’s top female players, and experience a level of competition that not many have the privilege of partaking in.
“I know each match in the Super League will be insanely difficult, but I’m just trying to soak up every moment and learn as much as I can from the best players in the world,” she says.
“I’m truly grateful to ITTF and CTTA for making this happen, as well as JOOLA for fully supporting me on this journey.”
It is a journey we are proud to see Lily on, as she continues to strive towards her highest potential in the sport.
The team faced off in their first tough match last night against Shenzhen University, which features reigning World Cup Champion and World Number 1 Chen Meng, and recent World Tour Grand Finals Champion Sun Yingsha, alongside Wang Yidi.
Zhang and Diaz took the stage in the singles, with Diaz and Cheng forming for the opening doubles. It certainly looked like an overwhelming experience for the newcomers, with the Shenzhen team leaving no room for error.
Zhang again faced off against Chen Meng, this time not able to find enough solutions to make a strong impact against the current top player in the world.