25 Aug 2016

Unlike in the London Olympic Games where Zhang Jike returned home with two gold medals and a new title being the Grand Slam, the 28-year old player returned to China this time with no new title. He lost to Ma Long in the Olympic Singles finals which could have made him the first ever to complete a second round of Grand Slam. Despite that defeat, Zhang Jike was still welcomed like a hero, by his father.

By Henry Chen 

Last August 20th, it was reported that fans clustered together in the Beijing Capital International Airport to give the Chinese Table Tennis Team a warm welcome from their successful feat in Rio de Janeiro.

Zhang Jike, as the crowd favourite, naturally had a lot of fans who rolled out the red carpet for him. However, there was one particular fan who made a big impact among the rest. It was Zhang Jike’s father, Zhang Chuanming.

Zhang Jike is a full-grown man, 180 centimetres tall and weighs around 70 kilograms. But Zhang Chuanming, with no hesitation, carried his son on his back. It was reported that the father was assisted by two people just to stand up.

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Zhang Jike received hero’s welcome from father (Photo from Sina Sports)

Based in Qingdao, Shandong Province, the parents, Zhang Chuanming and Xu Xiying specially took time and effort to travel to Beijing. They want to personally show their concern and support to their son.

“Even you are an Olympic champion, you will forever be my son in my eyes. You are my pride!” – Zhang Chuanming

The father has played a very vital role in the professional career of Zhang Jike in the table tennis sport. Zhang Chuanming served as the first coach in the early stages of his son. Both of them worked diligently and overcame countless challenges together.

Indeed, Zhang Jike entered the National Team and made history as the fastest player to have completed the Grand Slam feat.

Zhang Jike, in return, has also been expressive of his gratitude towards the support from his parents. After he won in London, it was reported that Zhang Jike offered a new house to his folks.

Seeing his parents in the airport certainly made Zhang Jike relieved and happy, despite the loss in the Olympic Singles. The Grand Slam champion was happy to witness that his father is still very strong. He said:

“He is much stronger than a lot of athletes.”

 

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