Wise is the person who looks ahead

U19 Qingdao Ping Pong Competition

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This year MCQ fielded 12 students at the annual U19 Qingdao Ping Pong Competition (27th – 28th November):- two trios of boys, captained by Oscar Li (U6) and two trios of girls, captained by April Wang (L6). The venue this year was ISQ, and despite the gruelling structure of the tournament- 1 and ½ solid days of table tennis!- we were ready.

First up was the team event which is essentially a best-of-5 rotation of singles and doubles games played between two teams of three. Our boys’ teams drew tough pools, but strong performances from Johnny Zhang (U5), Jason Shi (L6) and Bobby Sun (L6) saw the boy’s B team through to the knockout stages. Unfortunately, the winning streak expired when they were pitched against the CISQD B team in the quarter final. But the girl’s stole the show. Both teams making it through to the elimination rounds to play a rather bitter-sweet MCQ A vs MCQ B semi-final.  One team had to win, and April’s A team made it through to the final where they beat CISQDA for the 1st place trophy. Not only that- they came out with a perfect record (3-0 in every game)! The 3rd place play off between MCQ B and ISQ A was a closer affair, but eventually ISQ came out ahead.

After a long afternoon of ping pong on Friday, a few pizzas and not enough sleep, the 6.00am alarm on Saturday signalled that there was yet another 8 hours of ping pong to play. This time, the doubles and singles events. It is at this stage of the tournament where each player must display both mental and physical fortitude to make it through. With the quality of competition from the other schools, losing focus will inevitably lead to losing matches.

The boys fought hard in the doubles event, with exceptional performances from Johnny Zhang and Jason Shi in our C-pairing to secure a 4th place finish out of the 12 starting boys doubles teams. Our boys doubles A team of Fred Liu (U6) and Jim Jiang (U6) played a near flawless string of matches to top their group and skip to the quarter finals. Unfortunately they met their match verses a very experienced ZKIS pairing who eventually went on to win the event.

Once again, it was the girls soaking up all the limelight, with each partnership making it through to the knockouts, the B team (Jasmine Wang (U5) and Amy Cai (U5))  locking up 4th place, and the A team (April Wang and Christina Wang (L6)) dominating the competition to take 1st place.

Results in the singles event were equally stellar for the girls, however the journey was a little tougher. Our top seed April Wang was beaten (1-2) by ISQ’s Larissa Xu in her very first game, but then raised her game to ensure a stunning victory over the competition, winning 2-0 in every other pool game, beating Larissa in the (coincidental) semi final and then dominating the final game in front of a large audience. A third 1st place trophy well-earned. Christina Wang also had a hot run of matches, winning every game 2-0 up until a close defeat by April’s final opponent- Maggie Xu from CISQD- in the semis. She then defeated Larissa for 3rd place, earning the MCQ girls yet another glass trophy.

Great solo performance from Helen Lai (U6), Anna Hu (U6) and all of our boys demonstrated just how much work had gone into our students’ games. The boys were unlucky to come out of the singles event empty-handed. But a notable winning streak from Jim Jiang who made it all the way up to 4th place was very exciting to watch.

All in all, a great weekend of sport and sportsmanship. And made all the more memorable by the glassware we took home with us. (Not to mention our delicious Saturday night hot pot dinner in Chengyang!).

Until next year,

Mr Alex Engert

Mathematics Teacher and Ping Pong Coach,

Malvern College Qingdao.

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