15 Mar 2017

The Olympic Channel published a video of Japan's table tennis sensation Ai Fukuhara as a 16-year old for their "Before they were superstars series". It is an inspiring profile of the Japanese star when she was that young and was living and training in the Japanese city of Aomori.

By Neha Aggarwal

“Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up” is a famous quote from the movie Rocky Balboa. It is truly applicable to the 28-year old Ai Fukuhara, two time Olympic medalist, who has won six World Championship medals and is a superstar not only in Japan but also in China and the rest of the sporting world.

This video profile of Fukuhara, popularly known as Ai Chan in Japan, gives you a closer look of her as a 16-year old upcoming star, who had then already reached a world ranking of 23 and became the youngest member of the Japanese National team at the tender age of 11.

Watch some inspiring scenes from 2005 when Ai Chan trained in the city of Aomori, in quest to become the best player in the world. She talks about her aspirations in the sport, opens up on being hailed as the “Tiger Woods of Table Tennis”, and discusses her plans of then competing in the Chinese Super League.

Even as a teenager, Ai Fukuhara was also voted by Japanese children as their favorite sportswoman, and her feelings towards that is simply adorable.

Sit back, relax and watch the teenager Ai Fukuhara in the next five minutes: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/playback/before-they-were-superstars/episodes/ai-fukuhara-at-age-16/ 

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