Chinese table tennis player Zhu Yi has seen a lot of contrasts in his career. He was one of the millions of Chinese kids who dreamed about the opportunity to represent his country on the international stage. Despite his heavy stature, Yi proved to be a relatively talented young man. At the early stages of his table tennis journey, he was training with such well-known names, as Xu Xin.
Unfortunately, Yi did not make it to the national team and he had to return to regular life. However, this did not weaken his passion for table tennis and Yi continued to play on the Chinese amateur level, where he soon became a household name. While table tennis fans outside China may not know him, Zhu Yi is a well-known name in Chinese table tennis. You don’t get a saying: “The one who wins Zhu Yi, wins the World” – just like that.
In 2018, he got under the national spotlight, when in the Hainan Challenge tournament, where 5 Chinese amateur players got a chance to play against the European table tennis stars. Yi was selected to play against Dimitrij Ovtcharov in a handicap game. Every set started with a 3-0 lead to Yi. Ovtcharov was a World Ranking leader at that time and… He lost 2-3 to Zhu Yi. Of course, this was a handicap game and it had no special significance, but the fact remains a fact – Yi showed that he is a high-level athlete.
Despite being a famous player on the amateur scene, Zhu Yi sees himself as more like a retired professional athlete because, in the early days, he went through professional training and simply did not make the cut to join the national team. And this is a fair statement, considering the incredibly high competitive level in Chinese table tennis, where you have to be superb to stick around the national team.
Nevertheless, Yi still got a chance to see himself among the World’s best players in the 2020 Chinese Super League season. He was selected by the Lexuan Sports Group TTC team that finished the season in 7th place. Yi played 4 games and lost them all. Still, he had some good moments against the legendary Ma Long, taking a set away from the Dragon, and winning few beautiful rallies.
It is interesting to imagine, how Yi would perform on the international stage if he would have a chance to play in the professional tours. Seeing his skillset, it is fair to assume that he would definitely be a TOP 50-100 player in the World, and he would strengthen most of the teams in Europe. It is worth mentioning that Yi has won in various tournaments against such table tennis stars, like Joo Sae-hyuk and Hou Yingchao.
In real life, Yi simply continues to enjoy participation in various tournaments around China and he might make another appearance in the Chinese Super League in the upcoming season. His appearance and stature might look heavy and chubby, but don’t estimate the man by his look – there is the highest quality table tennis player hidden in this man.