Jean Michel Saive, winner of the 1994 European Championship, plays ping-pong with a pupil from Beijie Primary School in Dujiangyan, an earthquake-stricken area in Sichuan. [chinadaily.com.cn]
A special Table Tennis Exhibition Match was held in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province，on November 26 to celebrate the establishment of the first Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce in China. During the 45-min match, well-known Belgian Ping-Pong player Jean Michel Saive, winner of the 1994 European Championship， played ping-pong with 10 pupils from Beijie Primary School in Dujiangyan, an earthquake-stricken area in Sichuan.
Saive kept the competition lighthearted, ignoring restrictions of the court, rules and regulations of the game, making the match more like a Ping-Pong party.
The humorous champion even jumped in front of the VIP audience seats to catch a ball, and pulled faces at the cameras during the match, which won waves of applause and laughter from the spectators.
"These pupils, who are between 8 and 12, were picked out as Ping-Pong players who showed good potential in PE class," Chen, table tennis coach at Beijie Primary School, told China Daily. "He (J.M Saive) is such an excellent player. I hope I can also be a world champion in the future," Kang Ao, the youngest player present said after playing with Saive. The 8-year-old could barely his excitement.
"These children are great, and I enjoyed playing with them," Saive told China Daily after the match. He also posed for photos with his young fans.