Title: Met alle chinezen..
Other Titles: Jean-Michel Saive, Norbert Van de Walle, Chen Song en Bettine Vriesekoop over tafeltennis in het Oosten en het Westen
Authors: Vangrunderbeek, Hans # ×
Issue Date: 2008
Series Title: Sportimonium vol:28 issue:1-2 pages:4-29
Abstract: Made in China

Jean-Michel Saive, Norbert Van de Walle, Chen Song and Bettine Vriesekoop about table tennis in the East and the West

Flim-Flam, Ping pang quo, Gossima, Pim Pam, Whiff-Whaff and Pingpong are all denominators for the quintessential sport in China, that is to say, table tennis. Despite millions of table tennis players in the East, it was our Belgian Jean-Michel Saive dominating the elite table tennis circuit in the mid-nineties. Following the example of his parents, the nine-year old Jean-Michel started to play at the age of nine at FC Ans in Liege, together with his younger brother Philippe. At the age of 15, Saive won his first of 20 national titles. After passages through Germany, France and England, Jean-Mi returned to Belgium in 1989, where he has been outstandingly standing out ever since. Two training periods in China during the early part of his career (1986 and 1988) formed the foundation for his later successes. Just after this second visit, ‘Ta Saifu’ became the first Belgian table tennis player to compete at the Olympics. Dutch counterpart and multiple champion of the Netherlands and Europe in the female table tennis ranks is Bettine Vriesekoop. Vriesekoop also made journeys to China to learn about the Chinese training methods. The golden year for Saive was 1994, when he subsequently won the European top 12, the European Cup and became the world’s number one. Due to these successes, Saive became increasingly popular in China. The Chinese admiration even took such proportions that a young Chinese table tennis talent – the infamous so-called Saive clone – was trained to play and react in an identical fashion as Jean-Mi would do in similar situations. Due to his reputation, Saive was also ‘blacklisted’, meaning that he was no longer welcome in the national training centre of Beijing. In the summer of 2008, Saive will make another trip to China’s capital to compete in his sixth subsequent Olympics. If table tennis would have been an Olympic discipline in the sixties, multiple Belgian champion Norbert Van de Walle undoubtedly would have been able to qualify in these days. Norby picked up the game in the mid-fifties in Chicago’s Net and Paddle Club. He traveled the world with the US Table Tennis Team to play tournaments and exhibition games in the next decade, not in the least in the Mekka of table tennis, the Far East. After completing an astonishing career in the States and Belgium, he was the first non-American to be introduced into the prestigious Hall of Fame of New York.
ISSN: 0779-4959
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AT
Appears in Collections:Research Centre for the History of Sport and Kinesiology (-)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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