Like most young players on the U.S. national table tennis team, Tim Wang, 20, is Chinese American. A Texas native, he learned the sport from his immigrant father. He has trained in China, and many of his U.S. coaches were born there. “China is kind of like my second home,” he said.
Wang, the U.S. national champion, is part of a delegation traveling to China in mid-December to commemorate the 40th anniversary of “pingpong diplomacy” with a series of exhibition matches. (Pingpong diplomacy refers to the 1971 breakthrough in U.S.-China relations after China invited the U.S. table tennis team to visit.)
“My dad is really excited because the person I’m going to be playing [in China] is three-time world champion Wang Liqin,” Wang said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to play with some of the top players in the world.”
Above, Tim Wang plays at the North American Cup in Toronto in April 2011.