|Are you ready for sexy table tennis? (Chinanews.com)|
For decades, table tennis players have been dedicated to improving their skills -- speed and spin. However, their uniforms have barely changed, with stereotypical blacks and blues. With few exceptions, they compete in baggy shirts and loose shorts with elastic waistbands.
This situation might be about to change. At the 2013 Women's Table Tennis Yingli Cup on Aug. 20, the female athletes spiced up their uniforms. Li Xiaoxia, one of the most successful female Chinese table tennis players who has won gold medals in most of the international table tennis competitions including the Olympics, chose to wear a tight pink-purple dress. Liu Shiwen, currently ranked 2nd in the ITTF Women's World ranking, looked pretty in a yellow tennis dress. Their stylish uniforms surprised the fans.
Kong Linghui, one of the all-time greats of table tennis and the head coach of China's National Women's Team, apparently came up with the idea of updating the players' uniforms just before the game. "The baggy shirts and loose shorts give the girls a tomboy look. There is hardly any difference between them and the male players. Whether it is on site or on television, the girls look pretty in skirts," said Kong.
Table tennis spectators may welcome the change. But the players will need time to get used to the stylish and sexy uniforms. Liu Shiwen said: "This is the first time that I have competed in a skirt. I was a little embarrassed at first. But when I focused on the competition, I felt comfortable."
Although table tennis is extremely popular in China and female players do not need to dress stylishly to attract spectators, there is still a need to update their dress. "Gradually, players will get used to the change. This is our first move. If the girls can show their beauty in the competition, then why not?" Kong said in an interview after the match.
"There are some players who worry that wearing skirts make them look fat. Don't worry at all. Just look at tennis player Serena Williams." Kong has taken the first step in changing the style of women's table-tennis. No doubt it has a long way to go if the players hope to catch up with the likes of Serena Williams.