LIVINGSTON, NJ - Jack Wang, a Livingston High School freshman whose table tennis career began at age eight, not only has his eyes set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janiero--he could be a serious contender for the position.
“I love table tennis,” Wang said. “I’m really looking forward to the Olympics and I’m working extra hard to get there. I want to be the youngest Olympic table tennis player.”
In fact, Wang will soon be representing North America in the 2015 World Cadet Challenge in Egypt later in October and the World Junior Championships in France in November.
Wang said he developed a liking for the sport playing table tennis with his dad in his basement every day and attending clubs he found in the local newspaper,
After three years of practicing, his mom, who knew many table tennis coaches in China, hired private coaches to help him train and develop the skills he needed to compete at a professional level. According to Wang, neither of his parents have any background in table tennis.
“I practice every day for about two to three hours," he said. "I have a basement, and a table, but there’s a club near me that I go to. Every week, there are local tournaments at different clubs, and once in a while, there are world competitions that you need to try out for. Every December, there are trials for Junior or Cadet Boys Teams, [which is how] I made the national team.”
Wang has been highly competitive in past competitions, as well. Among his achievements are the 2014 North American Junior Boys Championship, the 2014 U.S. National Championships, and earlier this month, he was a Gold medalist for both the Cadet Boys Single and the Junior Boys Team as well as a Bronze medalist in the Men’s Open. All of his accomplishments have put him on the right track as a future Olympian.
In order to achieve, Wang said his abilities are constantly put to the test.
“In every single match, there will be challenges like whenever you’re losing or when you get nervous," Wang said. "Sometimes you have to slow down and face it."
Wang said he also gets his motivation and inspiration from Chinese table tennis player Zhang Jike, both a World Champion and Olympic gold medalist in the sport.
“He’s a table tennis legend,” Wang said. “I try to practice his style, and incorporate it into my own style.”
Click HERE to read a previous TAP article on Wang.
Brittaney Gui is a student at Livingston High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Livingston.