Interview: Turkish table tennis player expects cross-cultural exchanges at Chengdu Universiade

(Xinhua) 13:46, July 26, 2023

KAYSERI, Türkiye, July 26 (Xinhua) -- As the Chengdu Universiade is around the corner, Ozge Yilmaz, a Turkish table tennis player and student at Erciyes University, was thrilled about the upcoming challenge and eager to experience the diverse cultural exchange the event promises.

Yilmaz's journey in table tennis began at a young age when she witnessed her older sisters playing the sport. Intrigued by the game, she volunteered to help them during practice, developing a passion for table tennis.

Reflecting on her journey, Yilmaz recalled an intriguing turning point. During early qualifiers, she played with her dominant right hand but faced elimination. Later, she made a bold decision to switch to her left hand, a move that shaped her table tennis career from then on.

The 20-year-old athlete was gearing up for her appearance and determined to give her best performance at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Games to be held in Chengdu, China.

However, she acknowledged the challenges that come with competing in table tennis, given the number of participants.

"We will be facing strong teams at the FISU Games. Table tennis is a tough competition for us due to the large number of participants. But I believe in our abilities, and we have a shot at winning a medal," Yilmaz said confidently.

To prepare for the tournament, Yilmaz and her teammates underwent rigorous training, with daily conditioning exercises followed by hours of table tennis practice. The experience gained from past competitions, including the Islamic Solidarity Games, Mediterranean Games, and European Championships, has given them an edge.

Although having traveled abroad for competitions, China is uniquely attractive to Yilmaz for its exceptional strength in table tennis.

"I have always wanted to see China, especially because it has been leading the sport (table tennis) for years. It is a country I have been curious about for long and I am really excited that I finally have the chance to visit it," Yilmaz said with excitement.

She is also looking forward to exploring China's rich cultural heritage and experiencing China's green and smart technologies exhibited at the venues. "I know China is a tech-advanced country," she said in the interview.

Besides competition, the Chengdu Universiade will serve as a platform connecting athletes from diverse backgrounds.

When asked about the cross-cultural interaction expected at the event, Yilmaz said she looks forward to establishing new dialogues with Asian athletes.

Believing the experience in China will open up a new world for her, Yilmaz said meeting athletes from various cultures will definitely provide an exciting opportunity to have exchanges and improve understanding.

"I hope we can communicate and develop our conversations and engage with people from other countries through dialogue," she remarked.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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