the age of globalization, competing at the Olympics means potentially
coming up against former teammates who now represent rival nations — a
reality Team China must confront in Rio de Janeiro.
Sports with a strong base in China produce many world-class athletes,
and a growing number are being welcomed by other countries to use their
skills in international competition, such as at the Summer Games.
In table tennis alone, as many as 30 athletes born in China or who have
Chinese ancestry have qualified for one of the 140 places in the men’s
and women’s singles draws at the Rio Olympics, not including the 12
representing China, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei.
When the women’s team competition between China and Brazil began on
Friday, the first singles match looked like a game from the Chinese
National Games, as both players spoke the same language and used a
similar attacking style.
"If I’d stayed in China, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to compete
at the Olympics because there are way too many players there. It was not
an easy decision to make, but it was all worth it," said the
22-year-old, who lives and trains in Sao Paulo.