Interview: Table tennis phenom discusses World Championships

Becca Raffel and Jared Schwartz

Senior Lily Zhang poses in her U.S.A. table tennis shirt. She has returned from the World Championships in Japan, where her world rank jumped to number 66.
Senior Lily Zhang poses in her U.S.A. table tennis shirt. She recently competed in the table tennis World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, where her world rank jumped to No. 66. Photo by Becca Raffel.

The Paly Voice sat down with senior Lily Zhang to discuss her recent success in the table tennis World Championships on April 28-30 in Tokyo, Japan.

The Paly Voice:  How was your experience at the World Championships?

Lily Zhang: It was my sixth World Championships, so that was incredible.  My first one was in Yokohama, Japan, so it was really cool going back to Japan again for the World Championships.  It was just really amazing being with all the best players in the world and being a part of that.

TPV: What was the most exciting part?

LZ: Probably just going out with my teammates and going to play in the matches against some really good players.  I think I played considerably well, since I didn’t practice for eight months, and I just went in and decided to try my best.

TPV: What are your goals for the future in ping pong?

LZ: I’m definitely going to try out for the 2016 Olympics.  That is one of my future goals, and then for the 2014 Youth Olympics. I’m going to do my best to win the first medal for the US.

TPV:  How have you been able to balance your school work while going away for extended periods of time?

LZ:  It’s kind of hard, especially during junior and senior year, when there is a lot of school work. Practicing is pretty difficult to do at the same time. I guess I have to make a few more sacrifices than usual, but I think it’s all worth it in the end.

TPV: Tell us about the change in your world ranking. 

LZ:  I was number 110 in the world for women, and then I didn’t play for more than eight months so it went away.  Now it’s up to no. 66 in the world, and no. 7 in the world for under-18.

TPV:  Any inspirational words to share with Paly students?

LZ: In whatever you do, just be passionate.