by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was a history lesson but not in a classroom, as those present had the opportunity to learn about the growth of a city that in terms of population, with over 24,000,000 inhabitants, is generally regarded as the biggest in the world
Imposing and one young man, who was impressed was a young man who two days earlier had impressed.
On the opening day of the Boys’ Team event, Egypt’s Marwan Abdelwahab, on duty for Team Asia, had beaten Yin Tianyue (11-8, 6-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-5) in the contest against China. It was a result that raised the eyebrows.
Two days later his eyes were wide open when he was surrounded by the artefacts of a country that very much matched his own; perhaps Shanghai does not have the Pyramids of Giza but there was plenty to marvel.
“This is my first time in China, so the visit to the Shanghai museum was a very interesting and educational trip for me to know more about this country and its cultures”, said Marwan Abdelwahab “Personally, I enjoyed it very much.”
It was a view echoed by all but whatever the young people witnessed, whatever places they saw; they were on the same footing.
In the table tennis hall, some players are better than others and it is normal for people of all ages to befriend those of a similar level and in the same team; the Cultural Day breaks down any barriers that may unwittingly exist.
They are of different playing levels, they are of different ethnic backgrounds but they are all athletes, they are all friends and they are all better for the experience.