Ni Xialian, who has represented Luxembourg for more than 20 years, beat Honoka Hashimoto who ranked 13th in the world and is 35 years her junior.
“I’m really speechless, an unforgettable match. It’s also a wonderful match and nice to win, if I had lost, it would have been a shame,” said Ni after the game.
“I have missed so many match points through inexperience. But it’s never too late to learn,” she said.
She retired from competition in China in 1986, two years before table tennis or ping pong became an Olympic sport.
Ni started her European playing career in 1989, competing in her first Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 when she was 37. In last year’s Rio Olympic Games, Ni became the flag-bearer for Luxembourg at the closing ceremony.
It was the third occasion she’d represented the Grand Duchy.
Ni admits her age is affecting her endurance. “I still want to help young players in Luxembourg,” she added.
When asked when she was going to retire, she said she hadn’t set a deadline yet. “Life is beautiful and playing table tennis is only a part of my life.”
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily