September 14, 2016, by Liz Cass
Gold medal for table tennis superstar student
Zhao Shuai won the men’s single Table Tennis last night (Tuesday) at the Rio Paralympic Games.
Zhao beat Andras Csonka 3-0, defending his London 2012 title. He won every match in his competition class, sweeping aside opponents from Poland and Sweden.
After the match, Zhao was quick to praise the people that had supported him.
He said: “Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I’ve defended my gold medal in the men’s singles and I will try my best to do well in the group competition. Come on!”
Zhao also spoke to a CCTV reporter about how much sport meant to him. He added: “This game has given me respect and confidence. Table-tennis is my life.”
A member of the Chinese Paralympic table tennis team, Zhao, began studying English at UNNC earlier this year. Supported by awards from the Deng Yaping Sports Scholarship – which assists young sports people to gain an education at some of the world’s top universities – he came to UNNC to study on CELE-run courses aimed at improving English language proficiency. He will return to Ningbo to continue his studies later this year.
The Deng Yaping sports scholarship scheme is sponsored by Olympic and World table tennis champion Deng Yaping who graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2002 and wanted to offer something back to Chinese nationals who are current or future elite athletes. Deng was also awarded an honorary doctorate by The University of Nottingham Ningbo China in 2013.
Zhao, Haoyu Liu and Weijie Kong are the first three scholars all combining studies at the University with intensive table tennis training.
Zhao will now compete for China in the team event which gets underway tomorrow (Thursday).