Kong Linghui
table tennis champion at both the Atlanta Olympic Games and Sydney Olympic Games (1)

Yin Xiao, (Coach Chinese table tennis team):

Kong Linghui was less than 13. He was a player of shake-hand grip, loop and fast attack. He wasn鈥檛 strong, so not much notice had been taken of him. Strength was of key importance, especially for a shake-hand grip player.

Liang Yan (sports programme anchor):

After Cai Zhenhua became the head coach, he transferred a group of children to the first team. There was the first team and the second team. Kong Linghui and his coach Yin Xiao

entered the first team.

I found the boy to be extremely lovely. He liked to play with older players. Liu Guoliang and Kong Linghui used to play with the top players so they followed Ma Wenge, the team鈥檚 No. 1 player. When Ma Wenge entered a room they would follow him into that room. But Kong Linghui was different from Liu Guoliang. Kong was a boy of few words, but he was hyperactive. He couldn鈥檛 stay in any one room for longer than five minutes.

Head coach Cai Zhenhua decided to send 16-year-old Kong Linghui alone to play table tennis in Sweden.

Kong Linghui (Chinese table tennis player):

In September 1992, I was sent to Sweden to play table tennis. Few players of my age were sent abroad to play table tennis. At that time the Swedish team was the world champion. It had the most advanced play. Probably my play in China was inferior. I could learn more in Sweden.

In 1992, not many Chinese could go abroad but Kong Linghui鈥檚 mother managed to find a professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who was going to undertake a foreign research tour and she asked him to help Kong Linghui go through formalities when he transferred to another plane and bring him to the boarding gate. More than ten hours later, Kong Linghui arrived in Sweden to begin this new and exciting stage of his life.

Because of the far-sightedness of head coach Cai Zhenhua鈥檚, a solid foundation was being laid for Kong Linghui to go on to win successes in major competitions both in China and abroad.

The Children鈥檚 Palace of Harbin City is the place where Kong Linghui began his table tennis career but in the 20 years since then he lost all sense of his bearings here. Because of this he has to call Du, the coach who initiated him into table tennis.

Jihong Primary School, Harbin City

Jihong Primary School is a key school in Harbin City but Kong Linghui left the school when he was just 10 and never came back. Today is a day off so the main gate would usually be locked but today, for him, an exception has been made.

It is said that, not too far in the future, this place will be in ruins. We wonder if any further outstanding young players will emerge here.

Harbin Engineering University is well known in China and it was here that Kong Linghui graduated from the School of Management but, naturally, he is most familiar with the university鈥檚 gymnasium. A few years ago, it was the site of the Northeast venue of the national league table tennis matches. We wonder if this has anything to do with Kong Linghui, its famous former student.

Kong Linghui expressed much care and support for Harbin Engineering University. After he won the title of champion at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, he donated half of his prize to 10 university students from poor families.

Gu Shuxia (Kong Linghui鈥檚 mother):

Kong Linghui gave financial support to some university students after the Olympic Games in 2000.He had come up with this idea earlier. Before that he had given financial support to dozens of primary school pupils. He said, 鈥淢um, I want to give financial support to 10 university students.鈥 鈥淔rom the long-term point of view, financial support will be of more significance for their future.鈥 After he came home, he asked me to prepare 40,000 yuan for students of Harbin Engineering University who were in straitened circumstances. When we brought the 40,000 yuan to Harbin Engineering University, the president said, 鈥淜ong Linghui earned this money with painstaking work.鈥

鈥淲e鈥檒l take 10,000 yuan as a symbolic gesture.鈥 鈥淟et Kong Linghui take back the rest.鈥 But Kong Linghui was determined. He insisted on donating the full 40,000 yuan to the impoverished students. In the first year, Kong Linghui and I sent the money there. In the second and third years, I sent money there on his behalf.

In 1994, with arrangements made by the national team for the first time, some members participated in a tournament in the United States at their own expense.

In May 1995, the 43rd World Table Tennis Championships took place in Tianjin, near Beijing, where the men鈥檚 singles finals attracted the attention of the world鈥檚 media. Kong Linghui鈥檚 rival was Liu Guoliang, who happened to be his closest friend. Because of this he felt very awkward when,for the first time in his life, he raised the trophy as world champion.

Yin Xiao (Coach, Chinese Table Tennis Team)::

His name was entered for the team event of the 43rd World Table Tennis Championships. But we only let him play against minor opponents. We didn鈥檛 let him play in the semifinals and finals. He didn鈥檛 play in the team event at the 43rd World Table Tennis Championships in 1995. But he came to the fore in the singles event.

Kong Linghui came into prominence at the 43rd World Table Tennis Championships. This was a lucky coincidence because the top players in the Chinese table tennis team were Ma Wenge, Wang Tao and Ding Song. Lake a dark horse, Kong Linghui carried off the title in the men鈥檚 singles finals at the 43rd World Table Tennis Championships. In the subsequent years, he would go on to achieve more and more success. It seemed that he was about to touch the glittering champion鈥檚 medal for the men鈥檚 table tennis singles at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.


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