Sophomore qualifies to US Olympic Table Tennis Team

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author

voice-picture

Zhang and her teammates at semifinals at the World Cadet Challenge in Puerto Rico. Zhang has recently qualified for the 2012 US Olympic Table Tennis Team. “I love everything about table tennis,” Zhang said.

– Provided by Lily Zhang

A Palo Alto High School sophomore is preparing to compete against Canadaian opponents for a slot in the 2012 Olympics after qualifying for the US Olympic Table Tennis Team on Feb. 9-12.

Fifteen-year-old Lily Zhang qualified in third place with a 9-2 record, according to the official US table tennis website. The top four qualified.

“The Olympic Trials went fairly well for me,” Zhang said. “I had a little trouble in the beginning and lost two matches, but I was able to pull back and win all [the rest of] my matches in the end.”

To compete in the Olympics, it is not sufficient to be one of the four members of the US Olympic Team, for the US Olympic Table Tennis Team must still earn a slot.

“The next step to qualify for the Olympics is the North American Team Trials, which is basically another trial but with Canada,” Zhang said. “[The] US and Canada can’t both go to the Olympics, so [the] US has to place [in the] top two in order for the US team to go.”

Zhang will compete in Cary, North Carolina, from April 18-22 at the North American Olympic Trials for a slot a ticket to London.

Zhang is hopeful for the competition and expresses her love for the sport.

“I love everything about table tennis,” Zhang said. “But I especially love traveling to tournaments all around the world and meeting different people from different countries.”