Three table tennis champions from China are the first recipients of a new sports scholarship at The University of Nottingham.
Haoyu LIU, Shuai ZHAO and Weijie KONG are all combining studies at the University with intensive table tennis training thanks to Deng Yaping Sports Scholarships – specifically for Chinese nationals.
Haoyu is studying in the UK where she has access to a bespoke sports training programme including 15 hours of quality play a week, group and individual sessions, video analysis, multiball training, mentoring, a strength and conditioning programme, access to physiotherapy as well as training camps throughout the year.
The setting for her training is The University of Nottingham’s new £40 million David Ross sports village due for completion in September. The sports village will lead the way with the largest indoor sports hall in the sector, an advanced human performance centre and a high specification table tennis hall.
Haoyu, 25, who comes from Changsha in Hunan Province, began playing table tennis at the age of six and is a double medallist at the National Colleges Table Tennis Championship of China. She has also studied a Master’s degree in Physical Education at Beijing Sport University.
She is now studying a preparatory English course at Nottingham’s Centre for English Language Education (CELE), after which she plans to study a Master’s degree in Business and Management at Nottingham University Business School.
Haoyu said: “It is my great honour to be one of the first of the Deng Yaping Scholars. I chose The University of Nottingham as it is one of the most famous universities in the world and Deng Yaping is my role model. The scholarship will support me to achieve my academic goals whilst being able to move forwards with my table tennis objectives. I love The University of Nottingham so much as well as the city.”
Director of the University’s table tennis programme, Nicola Perry, said: “I believe this is the start of many players from around the world choosing our unique package of support which is totally unrivalled at university level, and delivers high quality table tennis coaching in an elite academic setting.”
Paralympic table-tennis star Shuai and World Para Table Tennis Championship medallist Weijie are both studying preparatory English courses at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China. Shuai is studying ahead of the defence of his Paralympic gold medal in Rio, Brazil this summer.
This new sports scholarship scheme is sponsored by Olympic and World table tennis champion Deng Yaping who graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2002 and wanted to offer something back to Chinese nationals who are current or future elite athletes. Deng was also awarded an honorary doctorate by The University of Nottingham Ningbo China in 2013.
She said: “I would like to sincerely congratulate Haoyu Liu and Shuai Zhao and Weijie Kong, who are granted this scholarship for their hard work, giving them access to world-class higher education and a life-changing opportunity. I hope they enjoy their time at Nottingham like I once did, and look forward to seeing more outstanding athletes and young people realise their dream of studying abroad through this scholarship opportunity.”
John Quirk, Director of The University of Nottingham’s International Office said: “This scholarship reflects our very strong links with China. We are delighted to welcome outstanding international students and athletes to Nottingham.”
The Deng Yaping Sports Scholarship is available at undergraduate, postgraduate and study exchange level for athletes of World or National Champion status from China.
For enquiries regarding the table tennis programme please contact Nicola Deaton
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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