Rio’s table tennis players consist of at least 44 Chinese but not all of them play for China

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At least 44 table tennis players competing at the Rio Olympics were born in China, but not all of them play for China.

Of the 172 players vying for gold at the Rio Olympics, only six wore red and gold for China, The New York Times reported.

The other Chinese-born players represented other countries – such as Spain, Republic of Congo, Qatar, France, Austria, Canada, Slovakia, Ukraine and Singapore.

At least 44 table tennis players competing at the Rio Olympics were born in China, but not all of them play for China. Pictured is Ni Xialian from Luxembourg

This year in Rio, Chinese-born Yu Mengyu (pictured) represented Singapore

This year in Rio, Chinese-born Yu Mengyu (pictured) represented Singapore

Ni Xialian was one of the first players to emigrate from China.

She won a gold medal at the World Table Tennis Championships in 1983 for her home country.

But Ni moved to Germany in 1989 before moving to Luxembourg to play for their national team two years later.

“There was too much competition. I didn’t have the courage anymore,’ the Chinese-born 53-year-old told The New York Times of the drastic change.

This year, Ni competed in her third Olympic Games representing her adopted home.

Athletes representing countries they are not from are not unusual, but 31% of table tennis players competing in Rio were born outside the nation they represent.

Another player who left China in search of better opportunities to shine on the world stage was Li Ping (pictured), who now plays for Qatar.

Another player who left China in search of better opportunities to shine on the world stage was Li Ping (pictured), who now plays for Qatar.

Zhou Yihan, born in China, was another player who did not represent her home country.  Instead, she played for Singapore

Zhou Yihan, born in China, was another player who did not represent her home country. Instead, she played for Singapore

Canadian Eugene Wang is the highest ranked table tennis player in the country after leaving China for Canada in 2004 to pursue his dreams

Canadian Eugene Wang is the highest ranked table tennis player in the country after leaving China for Canada in 2004 to pursue his dreams

Li Xue wore the colors of France in Rio this year.  Here she celebrates her victory against Li Jie of the Netherlands

Li Xue wore the colors of France in Rio this year. Here she celebrates her victory against Li Jie of the Netherlands

Liu Jia proudly plays for Austria, she plays here in the women's singles qualifying round

Liu Jia proudly plays for Austria, she plays here in the women’s singles qualifying round

That’s double that of those who play basketball and almost three times that of those who swim.

Ni’s move to Luxembourg was followed by many others.

In the current state of table tennis federation rules, players who decide to play for another country after reaching the age of 21 are not allowed to participate in the World Championships, World Cup or the World Team Cup.

But these players are still allowed to take the paddle for the Olympics.

This year in Rio, Chinese-born Feng Tianwei, Zhou Yihan and Yu Mengyu all represented Singapore.

Yu arrived in Singapore at the age of 17 about 10 years ago with the aim of succeeding in the sport she had chosen because there was always someone else who was the “first choice”.

“There was a gap, in technique and experience, between me and the players older than me. I understood why others were chosen before me,” Yu said in Singapore. The Times of the Strait.

“Competition is a privilege reserved only for the best in China. Before coming to Singapore, I couldn’t participate in professional tournaments or big games. My dreams seemed impossible to me.

Li Ping, who now plays for Qatar, is another player who left China in search of better opportunities to shine on the world stage.

The list of Chinese-born players not playing for their home country is long and includes Xing Han who represents the Republic of Congo.

The list of Chinese-born players not playing for their home country is long and includes Xing Han who represents the Republic of Congo.

He Zhiwen represented Spain at the Rio Olympics at the age of 54

He Zhiwen represented Spain at the Rio Olympics at the age of 54

Singapore's Tianwei Feng celebrates after winning a match point during the quarter-final match

Singapore’s Tianwei Feng celebrates after winning a match point during the quarter-final match

Chinese-born Yang Wang, who plays for Slovakia, was knocked out in the second round of men's singles by Nigerian Quadri Aruna in Rio.

Chinese-born Yang Wang, who plays for Slovakia, was knocked out in the second round of men’s singles by Nigerian Quadri Aruna in Rio.

Kou Lei played for Ukraine but lost to Portugal's Marcos Freitas in the fourth round

Kou Lei played for Ukraine but lost to Portugal’s Marcos Freitas in the fourth round

“In the past, as a representative of China, it was difficult for me to get a place in an international tournament, let alone the Olympics,” Li said in an interview with the International Table Tennis Federation, according to The Washington Post.

“I really cherish this opportunity.”

The list of players of Chinese descent who do not play for their country of origin is long and includes Xing Han who represents the Republic of Congo, Li Xue who wears the colors of France and Liu Jia who proudly plays for Austria. .

Canadian Eugene Wang is the highest ranked table tennis player in the country after moving to Canada from China in 2004 to pursue his dreams.

Chinese-born Yang Wang, who plays for Slovakia, was knocked out in the second round of men’s singles by Nigerian Quadri Aruna in Rio.

He Zhiwen represented Spain at the Rio Olympics aged 54, and Kou Lei played for Ukraine but lost to Portugal’s Marcos Freitas in the fourth round.

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