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2 Chinese Koreans Pursuing Table Tennis Dream

Posted January. 30, 2009 07:10,   


Table tennis stars Dang Ye-seo, 28, and Seok Ha-Jung, 24, were born in China but now play for Korea.

The two Chinese-Korean players were selected as backups on the women’s national team last week.

Dang led Korea to a bronze medal in the team competition at the Beijing Summer Olympics last year. Seok is an up-and-coming player who has joined the national team for the first time.

Signing with the pro team of Korean Air, the two came to Korea in 2001 to pursue ping pong prosperity.

Dang and Seok recently visited their hometowns in China in celebration of Lunar New Year.

Dang decided to stay in China until next month to keep in shape. Seok hurriedly returned to Korea Wednesday to prepare for an international competition.

The following is a fictional dialogue between the two on their return to China.

Dang: I dropped by Nantong, Jiangsu province, to see my husband. Then I went to Changchun, Jilin province, to visit my parents. I had to travel more than 2,500 kilometers by train because I couldn’t get a plane ticket. It took 21 hours, but I didn’t get bored since I was thinking about reuniting with my family.

Seok – You had a tough trip. I took a flight from Incheon International Airport. So it took me only one and a half hours to arrive at my parents’ house in Shenyang, Liaoning province. It was really cold as the temperature fell to minus 20 degrees Celsius. I find Seoul rather warm after returning from Shenyang.

Dang – The temperature usually stays around minus 22 degrees Celsius in Changchun (chuckles). I was sorry to come home almost emptyhanded even though it was my first Lunar New Year visit in two years. I will go shopping with my family tomorrow.

Seok – My family loved the chocolate and perfume I gave them as gifts. I gave my parents spending money but my aunt and grandmother gave me money as a New Year`s greeting. I mainly ate vegetables this time because I ate a little too much meat in Korea. Since I have to get back to training, I had to watch what I ate to avoid gaining weight. At night, we set off fireworks as well. It was interesting to realize that both Koreans and Chinese eat dumplings on Lunar New Year’s Day.

Dang - I’ve had an ear infection lately. I plan to take a long break until next month because I’ve been ill since the Beijing Olympics.

Seok – I resumed training today. My father, who is a former table-tennis player, told me I have a lot more work to do since joining the Korean national team was just the beginning. I’m aiming to win a medal at upcoming international competitions in Kuwait and Qatar next month.

Dang – Having competed in more games and with more experience, you now play like a seasoned veteran. Your drive is also good. Let’s both work hard so that we can play for Korea at the world championships in April. Keep up the good work until I return to Korea.

Seok – I’ve not only gained skills from you but also a strong mindset, which has been of great help to me. I’m always thankful to you.