The second annual Irish National Confucius Cup Competition was held at the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Stadium on March 24th, 2013. Around a hundred overseas Chinese, Chinese students and Irish table tennis enthusiasts gathered for the event, supported by the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland and the Tamron (TENGLONG) international trade company.
The competition was set up with the purpose of enhancing relationships and friendship through exercise, the sharing and demonstration of skills and, of course, exciting contests. The tournament was divided into men's and women's groups, and the men’s group was further sub-divided into two groups - Chinese players and Irish players. The Irish group included several competitors from the current Irish national team, including the current Irish number one and a number of top ten players. The experts impressed in the highly competitive arena, with one climax after another, countless tricky angles, carefully crafted fine arcs and equally amazing lightening smashes, all showing the strength and skill of the players.
The men’s final eventually came down to a showdown between the Chinese player Li Shizhao and Irish champion John Murphy. After a fierce battle, the Irish player won the championship, despite a stunning performance from the 17-year-old Chinese player, while third prize went to a competitor from Northern Ireland. A Polish competitor won the women's championship, with second and third places going to contestants from the Irish Wheelchair Association. Due to their outstanding performances on the day, 11-year-old Chinese girl Jacqui and 12-year-old Irish boy Kevin especially impressed the audience and shared a special Encouragement Award.
This year’s ‘Confucius Cup’ table tennis competition was supported by the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Ireland, and was organised by Chinese table tennis enthusiasts Na Ning and Huang Xin. ‘Confucius Cup’ table tennis competitions not only enrich the cultural and sporting life of the overseas Chinese, Chinese students and Irish entrants alike, but also provide a platform for interchanges between table tennis enthusiasts from the two countries. After the games, one excited player said: "I really like to play table tennis, and the tournament gives me an opportunity to share and learn new skills, exercise, and also broaden my horizons and make friends in the process. I can’t wait for the next competition!"