Yaping Deng - a 4' 11" woman from China - has more titles in table tennis than any other athlete.
In celebration of London 2012, Left Foot Forward will be running a series of profile features on Olympic heroines past and present, and potential female stars of the future. London 2012 is the first year that all teams have a female competitor yet women are still severely under-represented in sport, especially when it comes to coverage and sponsorship. The success of female athletes in this year’s Olympics needs to trigger cultural change.
Yaping Deng – a 4′ 11″ woman from China – has more titles in table tennis than any other athlete; with four Olympic gold medals and 18 world championship wins:
Deng started playing table tennis at the age of five, winning her first national tournament at the age of 13.
Initially she was denied a place on the national team due to her small stature, but this was overruled after her talent became undeniable.
Her first Olympic Games were in 1992, where she won Gold in both singles and doubles table tennis tournaments. She repeated this feat in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Deng retired at 24 and went on to study for a Masters at University of Nottingham and then a PhD at University of Cambridge. She married fellow table tennis player Lin Zhigang.
The BBC reported on her stint at University of Nottingham:
So what brought her to the University of Nottingham? She was offered a scholarship to study at the Centre for English Language Education while at the prestigious Qinghua University in Beijing.
Her English has improved leaps and bounds as she moves around the university, helps with coaching of the English national table tennis team, and travels to events and conferences around the world.
She plans to return to Qinghua University in the spring to finish her English degree there. She says she has enjoyed her time in the city enormously and hopes to return to the University of Nottingham for further study.
• Fanny Blankers-Koen: ‘The Flying Housewife’ who won four Olympic gold medals in one year 31 Jul 2012
• Charlotte Cooper: The world’s first female Olympic champion 30 Jul 2012
• London 2012 needs to set a precedent for the coverage of women’s sport 26 Jul 2012
Deng told an interviewer in 2003:
“In fact, there is no real secret to my success… I owe it to my belief in thoroughness, which made me a world champion.”
As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.
We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.
11 Responses to “Yaping Deng: The world’s most successful table tennis player”
Yaping Deng: The world's most successful table tennis player, writes @LFFKatie: http://t.co/g8PkijP5
Yaping Deng: The world’s most successful table tennis player: Yaping Deng – a 4' 11" woman from China – has more… http://t.co/jceHULzg
Yaping Deng: The world’s most successful table tennis… http://t.co/gj6sZiMB #GoodSociety #London2012 #Olympics #TableTennis #womeninsport
Yaping Deng: The world’s most successful table tennis… http://t.co/hyGnyNoe #GoodSociety #London2012 #Olympics #TableTennis #womeninsport
Left Foot Forward – Yaping Deng: The world’s most successful table tennis player http://t.co/1U37ixtD