‘This Is Not a Problem but an Issue’: Chinese-Born Table Tennis Players Representing Another Country at the Olympics, 1988–2020

Gijsbert Oonk*, Alexander Oonk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Table tennis was first included in the Olympic program at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. During the period 1988 to 2020, 811 athletes participated in the Olympic Games. Of these, a staggering 127 China-born table tennis players represented countries other than China at the Olympics. Collectively, these China-born athletes have officially earned these non-Chinese nations eight silver and seven bronze medals. Women have consistently migrated more than men. Did the number of China-born table tennis players who represent another country increase between 1988 and 2020, or was there a decline in numbers following the introduction of stricter eligibility rules in 2008? What are the major destination countries for China-born table tennis players? Through the life and stories of athletes, this study seeks to clarify that most of them obtained their new citizenship via ius domicilii and ius matrimony, meaning that they were naturalized through marriage or residency in their new countries. In short, we conclude that these athletes left China because of the extraordinary talent pool and their ambition to perform in an international event, such as the Olympics, in combination with existing diasporic migration corridors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-369
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Research programs

  • ESHCC HIS

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