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Table Tennis Friendly Marks 30th Year of US-Sino Ties

Posted January. 09, 2009 07:27,   


Celebrating the 30th anniversary of U.S.-Sino diplomatic relations, a friendship table tennis match was held in Beijing Wednesday.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and other 100 distinguished athletes and officials attended the match at the State General Administration of Sport, China`s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Four Chinese and three American players competed, including former world champion Liang Geliang of China and Judy Hoarfrost of the United States.

"Ping-pong diplomacy" between both countries began in the 1971 world championships in Nagoya, Japan, when U.S. team member Glenn Cowan mistakenly boarded the bus of the Chinese team and Zhuang Zedong greeted him.

Glenn died in 2004 and Zhuang failed to attend the event due to his old age.

In three singles and three mixed doubles competitions, former world champion Qi Baoxiang beat Judy Hoarfrost, who won the women’s team title in the 1981 world championships.

Both countries drew 1-1 in single games in which teens played against each other. In mixed doubles where athletes from both countries formed teams, there were no draws.

The 1971 encounter between the two ping-pong players served as an opportunity for then Chinese leader Mao Zedong to invite the U.S. table tennis team. Washington in turn invited the Chinese team the following year.

Ping-pong diplomacy eventually led to the formation of U.S.-Sino relations on January 1, 1979.