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Ping-pong diplomacy:
Chinese Mission and EU Institutions co-organise first "China-EU Friendship Table Tennis Tournament"
2014/07/10

On 19 June 2014, Logis Auderghem, the Stadium in Auderghem in Brussels hosted an unusual event: a table tennis tournament bringing together officials from 11 EU Member States working for the Council of the EU, the Commission and other EU institutions, business representatives from Belgian and Chinese companies, international diplomats and representatives of the Chinese Mission to the EU.

Co-organised by the Chinese Mission to the EU and the EU institutions, 30 players participated in this first 'China-EU Friendship Table Tennis Tournament', which was also open to the public.

                      

Madam Yang Yanyi, China's Ambassador to the EU, stressed the significance of table tennis in serving as a bridge among nations for exchange and for the development of lasting friendship. Also speaking at the event, European Commission Deputy-Director General for Education and Culture, Mr. Xavier Prats Monné, noted that 'Ping-pong Diplomacy' has truly become an important part of the EU-China cultural exchanges, bringing our younger generations together and generally promoting increased mutual understanding.

Ambassador Yang and the Deputy-Director General Monné kicked off the first game of the tournament. Highlights also included a show-match between renowned Belgian table tennis player – and 9 times world champion – Jean-Michel Saive, and Belgium's teenage player Jasper Merckx.

                     

Cheered on by colleagues, coaches and family supporters, Ondrej Pravda from the European side won the Men's Singles, and China's Chen Qian the Women's Singles. Chen Qian and Frederic Denis won the Doubles. Participants and fans pronounced the event a success, appreciating the inter-cultural exchanges, as well as the simple, healthy fun of a good game.

 

 

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