May 15 fell on a Sunday and Zhang Chuanming, as a professional table tennis coach himself, incidentally was on duty and has to stay in the gymnasium. Luckily, there was a television in his quarters. So before the start of the semifinals, he asked his wife Xu Xiying to come over and watch the match together. A few moments later, the media and some of their friends arrived.
Back in China, his parents really prepared for the day’s match – first, the semifinals against Timo Boll, and eventually the finals match against Wang Hao. Xu Xiying, as a mother herself, was really accommodating and prepared food and drinks before the match for their friends and some members of the media. Just before the match started, their phones were ringing non stop. So as to concentrate, one of their friends advised them to turn off their phones for the mean time to avoid distractions. Eventually, Jike’s parents followed.
In the presence of two ladies, Zhang Chuanming suppressed the idea of smoking. “I will not smoke. I will just drink wine and eat duck head!” With regards to the duck head, Old Zhang made a bet with his team and had something to do with duck heads and Zhang Jike’s match. Result, Old Zhang won and the duck heads were delivered to his quarters.
While the semifinal match was going on, Xu Xiying was praying silently. On the other hand, Zhang Chuanming, having to know the technicalities of the game, was shouting and was giving instructions to Zhang Jike through the television!
“For side shots, you have to use the forehand! Have you forgotten what I told you huh?!” Old Zhang exclaimed after Jike lost the first round against Boll in 7-11. After the first round, Old Zhang somehow managed to successfully relay his message and Jike started adjusting in the game.
When Jike won against Timo and entered into the finals, Zhang Chuanming unknowingly has consumed half a bottle of white wine and two pieces of spicy duck heads. “Honestly, this game was more important than the finals, because our son was fighting against Chinese team’s biggest threat,” Old Zhang justified his consummation of the wine and the duck.
After the semi finals, Xu Xiying revealed that they planned to go to Rotterdam to witness the game personally. But she heard from a friend that their plan will just add pressure to Jike so they decided to just watch the game here in China over the television.
During the finals match, Zhang Chuanming was still making some remote commands to Zhang Jike but more often pretending to be calm. Xu Xiying, on the other hand was already very nervous and could hardly watch the game in full. She revealed: “When I watched my son’s game against Jun Mizutani in the world cup, I was really anxious the whole night, so the next day, my whole body was not feeling well.”
After a few moments…
“My son got the title! You really did a great job!” Zhang Jike’s parents exclaimed while jumping in front of their TV. The whole group inside Chuanming’s quarters stood up and applauded – it was really a victorious moment for all of them. Jike’s parents, Xu Xiying and Zhang Chuanming embraced each other and were unconsciously shaking their hands in excitement.
Zhang Jike was rubbing his eyes while on an interview after the match. "This is the first time that I saw my son cried," while watching the interview, Zhang Chuanming’s voice trembled.
However, he could not help but react to his son’s surprising act - ripping his clothes off, he immediately said: “Silly boy, does he need to do that?! I am supposed to hang that shirt in his bedroom!”
“My son’s lucky jersey color in big world competitions is red while in the team competition, it’s black,” Chuanming added.
After the finals match, Zhang Chuanming received the first call, and it was from Jike’s elementary teacher, Teacher Wu: “Your son just won the championship, are you happy now?” While talking to the teacher over the phone, Zhang Chuanming just showed extreme happiness just like a child.
Zhang Chuanming revealed that he is so happy to see his son successfully proved his competency in the sport. “Of course, I would also like to see my son get the Olympic championship,” Zhang Chuanming said.
Photo source: pingpangchina.com