Rematch held to commemorate ping-pong diplomacy
www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-13 14:09:24   Print

    LOS ANGELES, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and American ping-pong players held a rematch on Thursday to commemorate the ping-pong diplomacy that saw Sino-U.S. relations normalized.

    In the rematch held at the Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, near Los Angeles, the Chinese delegation won three of four matches against their American counterparts.

China's Liang Geliang, three-time International Table Tennis Federation champion, shakes hands with American George Braithwaite, winner of more than 70 table tennis championships iat the Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, near Los Angeles June 12. Chinese and American ping-pong players held a rematch on Thursday to commemorate the ping-pong diplomacy that saw Sino-U.S. relations normalized.  (Xinhua Photo)
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    The outcome of the friendly matches is a reminder that table tennis is China's national pastime, said Sandy Quinn of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation.

    The two-hour competition started about 10:30 a.m., after a colorful ceremony featuring Chinese drummers, lion dancers, acrobats and other performers. The matches were followed by farewell and awards ceremonies.

    More than 350 fans, dignitaries and reporters packed into the library's White House East Room replica to catch the action that Quinn said was at its stunning best.

    Although the competition was fierce, the emphasis on friendship permeated the day, with the repeated mantra of "Friendship First, Competition Second," Quinn said.

Former Chinese table tennis player Liang Geliang (1st L) displays the calligraphy scroll as a present to George Braithwaite of the U.S. (2nd R) after the exhibition match of "American/Chinese Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Rematch" at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California of the United States June 12, 2008. A three-day event commemorating the era of ping-pong diplomacy that ushered in the normalization of U.S.- China relations got under way on Tuesday.

Former Chinese table tennis player Liang Geliang (1st L) displays the calligraphy scroll as a present to George Braithwaite of the U.S. (2nd R) after the exhibition match of "American/Chinese Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Rematch" at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California of the United States June 12, 2008. A three-day event commemorating the era of ping-pong diplomacy that ushered in the normalization of U.S.- China relations got under way on Tuesday.(Xinhua Photo)
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    The morning matches featured top Chinese and American players, highlighted by the "rematch" between original members of the 1971 teams, China's Liang Geliang, three-time International Table Tennis Federation champion, and American George Braithwaite, winner of more than 70 table tennis championships.

    Although Liang won in four sets in the best-of-five match, the two men embraced after the match, Quinn said.

    Liang said in a prepared statement after the match that the past 37 years had seen "a lot in the development of China-U.S. relations in the fields of politics, economy and trade, cultural exchange, etc."

    "The understanding and friendship between our two peoples have been promoted to an unprecedented level," Liang said.

    "The upcoming Beijing Olympics is a golden opportunity for China and countries around the world to promote understanding and friendship among each other. It's my devout hope that both the Chinese and American players can give a good account of themselves and present us some wonderful performance."

    The rematch commemorates table tennis competition between U.S. and Chinese players in 1971 and 1972 that have been credited with helping thaw Sino-American relations. Pundits of the era coined the term "pingpong diplomacy."

Editor: Jiang Yuxia
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