Meticulously organized by a special committee, UCD Confucius Institute’s first national table tennis championship was held at the IWA club on 27th February 2011.
The championship attracted more than 100 competitors from all over Ireland and England, ranging in age from 7 to 70 years old. There were professional players from the Irish Premier League, overseas Chinese living in Ireland, overseas students, and Irish table tennis enthusiasts among those taking part. And an added bonus was seeing the Irish Special Olympics representative team joining in the competition.
In a warm and friendly atmosphere, the competitors battled it out in more than 200 pulsating heats. The sports arena was filled with the continuous cheers, applause and support from the excited crowd. The mixed team finals were particularly eye-catching, and the skill of the competitors took the breath away from the cheering spectators. In the end, Karina Lefevre (England’s 5th seed) took the honours with her steady skillful display. Polish player Derek Zatylny and Chinese competitor Zhao Lisi secured second and third place respectively.
In the ladies competition, the Chinese players dominated, and the 1st 2nd and 3rd place honours went to Jiang Weihong, Huang Yanmei and Lu Ming respectively. The big prize in the junior group went to Kevin Wang. The competition was a great opportunity for the Irish and Chinese competitors and supporters alike to mix and learn more about each other, and there was a great feeling of camaraderie throughout the event.
Highlighting the importance of the event, on hand to present "Confucius Cup" were the 1st Secretary of the Chinese embassy in Ireland, Mr Li Chengyuan, and UCD Confucius Institute’s Director Wang Liming.