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Address by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Jinxiong at the Pingpong Open House Day

(April 6, 2017)


Dear Mr. Mentowikromo,

Dear Mr. Hooghart,

Governor Gersie,

Professor Menke,

Mr. Proeve,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Ping-pong open house day at the Chinese Embassy to celebrate the world table tennis day. Today's event is to encourage more people to participate in the healthy game that advocates perseverance, innovation and sharing.

Ping-pong, known as the national sports of China, is the most popular sports in my country. Over 100 million Chinese people play Ping-pong regularly. Actually the number is much bigger, if you take into account those who is able to play a bit, not exactly good at it. Ping-pong brings happiness, good health and quality life to people. I myself like the sports very much. I played a lot when I was younger. Should I know there would be a match today, I definitely would practice even harder.

Ping-pong is not something exclusive to the Chinese people. It's a British invention with its name made by an American businessman who produces the ball of ping-pong. Ping-pong has joined the Olympic Games for three decades. European players are formidable opponents for their Chinese counterparts. Africans are also catching up. Ping-pong has become one of the most popular sports in Congo. Nigerian best player Segun has become a legend by participating in seven Olympic Games. His compatriots, Aruna Quadri made as far as the quarter finals in Rio Olympic Games.

Ping-pong has also made its way to the Caribbeans. Back in 1973, Chinese national table tennis team visited Guyana and had a friendship match with the Guyanese national team. Grenada has included Ping-pong into its national sports training project. Porto Rico has set up Ping-pong training camp. Ping-pong is also developing very fast in Suriname. This could not be made possible without the support of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the unremitting efforts of Mr. Mo, an excellent professional player in China before he came to Suriname, and most importantly, contribution of Mr. Hooghart and the Table Tennis Federation of Suriname. As a matter of fact, thanks to his initiative, we started preparing today's event.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ping-pong knows no boundary. It can also play a significant role in state-to-state relationship. Over four decades ago, it's this small white ball that helped to bring the Chinese and American people closer and thawed the Cold War by heralding the improvement of China-US ties. Ping-pong diplomacy becomes a legend in the history of international relations.

Ping-pong also facilitated the academic exchanges between China and Suriname. The friendship match last year in Hongzhou between professor Menke and Vice Rector Chen Jianyong undoubtedly ignited more spark for cooperation between the Anton de Kom University and Zhejiang Sci&Tech University. I'm deeply convinced that with our joint efforts, more and more Surinamese people, youngsters in particular, will join us at the table. Today, we welcome students who are learning from Mr. Mo and practice regularly. They will definitely become ambassadors of friendship between our two countries and peoples. Let us wish them great games!

Thank you and have a wonderful day.


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