By Neha Aggarwal
How stardom looks like
Zhang Jike is scheduled to play at 1.50pm. He arrives at the stadium at noon to warm up and be ready for the epic semi final of China Open, a rematch of the Olympic Games men’s singles finals. Everything that is needed to be done, starts 2 hours prior to the game and he is ready to battle.
However, the Chinese locals had started their preparation for this much anticipated semi final clash days before this. Just the thought of watching their most beloved sports person LIVE, is electrifying.
They have been stalking Zhang Jike ever since they can even remember. They hover all over, in the stadium, outside the stadium, in the hotel, outside the hotel, on the pathways, on Weibo, Facebook…
and, now is the time to see him LIVE.
When Zhang Jike changes his shirt right in the middle of the stadium, women AND men, children, photographers, staff, volunteers, want to have a look. Is it the tattoo or is it his perfectly toned body?
When he slams a forehand smash, they go aahhhhhh
When he misses one, they go ohhhhhhhhh
“Zhang Jike, JIAYOOO”. They cheer, as loud as they can, with love, passion and loyalty.
The decibel is so high that you cant even hear your own self.
As he flexes his muscles to take that perfect shot, the fans are in aww of him.
Some of the women scream in a joyous disbelief when he walks out of the bus and waves them HI. Some don’t even blink their eyes, they just stand amazed, have a fan girl moment and capture it in their hearts forever…
What the fans say
Why is he adored so much? Is it his game? his style? his charismatic personality? Or is he simply one of the most adorable athletes from China?
We interviewed a fan, she admitted, “He is very cool, very handsome, very nice. That’s why I love him.”
The other one was inspired, “He is very responsible, he showed his responsibility during Olympic Games semi finals. I think he is the spirit of the whole team and that’s why I love him and always support him”
But the oomph factor in Zhang Jike is his versatility. A fan describes, “I have watched him play since 2012 London Olympic Games. People in China pay a lot of attention to him every time he plays. Pity that he did not win today, but he is still a very talented player. I watched one documentary movie about him and knew that he is extremly hardworking. Definitely he is so handsome and cool too and that is why I love him.”
We understood what it really is
In an interview with ITTF he said, “Table tennis has brought a lot into my life and it just became a part of my life. So when I grew up, I understood that, I will never walk away from Table tennis in my life. There is nothing in the world that can bring me more than table tennis.”
“My life has changed completely because of table tennis”
His commitment to the game is phenomenal and the fans understand and appreciate it. He is aware of his roots. He always owes his success to his family and admits that, “Without them I would never be an Olympic champion. If I have a holiday, I would like to spend it with my parents.”
Zhang Jike feels the commitment to the sport ever second of his life. The tattoo on his back says PERSISTENCE. He describes what it means, “I always stay true to my ambitions and not giving up.”
Zhang Jike personifies inspiration.
All this added to his stunning looks and ravishing personality explains his stardom.