by Simon Daish
Picking up one of China’s 14 gold medals four years ago in Beijing, Mao Jingdian secured the Class 8 title in style, beating German star Juliane Wolf and Norway’s Aida Dahlen on her way to the top step of the podium.
Once again the World Championships will feature a star-studded line-up including World no.2 Thu Kamkasomphou and, while Mao Jingdian is feeling confident about her chances of success, the 23-year-old isn’t underestimating the challenge ahead.
“She [Thu Kamkasomphou] is an experienced and tough opponent. But we should not only attach importance to her, but also attach great importance to both the German and American players [Juliane Wolf and Mingyu Zu]. They are very strong opponents. I do have confidence that I can win the tournament again, but the opponents are very strong, so I need make sure I pay enough attention to them.” Mao Jingdian
Mao Jingdian’s record is impressive no matter how you look at it: still in her early 20s but Mao Jingdian has already secured gold medal finishes at the Asian and Oceania Championships, National Games, World Championships and is a two-time Paralympic champion.
Her most recent success at the Paralympic Games came at Rio 2016 where she prevailed against French opponent Thu Kamkasomphou in the final but it is the semi-final encounter with Juliane Wolf which sticks in Mao Jingdian’s memory, recalling how encouragement from her coach helped to turn the tide.
“It was very difficult for me to play in the semi-finals of the Paralympics in 2016. I didn’t play well in the game, I lost my confidence and was very anxious throughout. However, my coach was very encouraging for me and give me confidence. His encouragement was what brought me through this difficult time.” Mao Jingdian
Currently undergoing her fifth year of University as a management student Mao Jingdian only resumed her full-time training regime in March, but the Chinese athlete believes that her studying and her playing career go hand-in-hand perfectly.
“Learning and training are complementary to each other. I never thought they could influence each other, but instead, they could improve each other. Learning has given me knowledge, and knowledge can be used in the understanding and tactics making of table tennis. I think interest is the key to balance.” Mao Jingdian
Source: Official Paralympic Website