Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
During the last twenty years, China has won 95% of gold medals and 59% of medals of any colour. Getting into the Chinese team is now so competitive that many have left to seek their fortunes elsewhere, and China’s dominance is made even more emphatic by the fact that all of the medallists for Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei were born on the Chinese mainland. Only South Korea has been able to put up a challenge.
The Chinese diaspora will reach an extraordinary new peak in Rio, especially in the case of female players. Of the 86 qualifiers for the women’s events, 28 were born in China, a third of the total, but only three will turn out for the country of their birth. The others will represent 17 different teams, as diverse as Turkey, Luxembourg, Congo and Brazil.
Far from being inevitable, the growth of the sport in China started from a chance event, a Communist sympathiser becoming head of the International Table Tennis Federation.
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