15-year-old girl serves it up in table tennis

April 4, 2011 9:43:47 PM PDT
The word 'phenom' is thrown around too often these days in sports, but recently I met a young woman, Ariel Hsing, who falls into that category in a game that has her dreaming of the 2012 Olympics.

"I started playing table tennis when I was 7 years old. My parents couldn't find a babysitter for me, so they just brought me to the club," said Hsing.

She fell in love with table tennis.

When asked what she loved most about table tennis, Hsing said, "Table tennis is so high paced, it's really complicated, it's intense. You just have to focus so much you always have to be one step ahead of your opponent. It's almost like playing a chess game."

Well it was checkmate in December, as the 15-year-old became the youngest national champion in the sport's history.

"I'm really fortunate and lucky to be national champion," said Hsing.

She's also very humble. Hsing has enough trophies and medals to last a lifetime and her coach, Dennis Davis, knew he had something special with Hsing at a young age.

"She was willing to do whatever I asked her to do to get better. In matches she has a high level belief in herself and boy, she's a fighter, she's a born competitor," said Davis.

Hsing placed first in the Pan-American team trials in February and will be travelling to the Netherlands in May, along with her 13-year-old teammate Prachi Jha.

"I was always honored, like when I first met her...I was proud that now I can call her my friend," said Jha.

You don't win as often as Hsing does without skill and her fighting spirit.

"I think the strength of my game is that I fight for every point, that's the most important thing, I don't let people just beat me easily, I just have to keep fighting," said Hsing.

I thought I had game, until Hsing took me to school. Her passion for the game will hopefully help her accomplish future goals.

"My long-term goal in table tennis is of course to become Olympic champion, world champion, and maybe in the future to help promote table tennis," said Hsing.

Hsing won the women's singles title at the North American cup this past weekend in Canada, which qualifies her as the North American representative for the women's world cup later this year. Only 16 women qualify for the World Cup. In 2016, just look for her on the podium at the Olympics.


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