Deng Yaping (born February 5, 1973 in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China) is a Chinese table tennis player who won six world championships and four Olympic championships between 1989 and 1997. Deng began playing table tennis at the age of five, and four years later she won her provincial junior championship. She was age 13 when she won her first national championship. [See video below.]
Despite her success, she was initially denied a spot on the national team because she was so short (she stood only 1.5 metres [4 feet 11 inches] tall). Her talent, however, could not be denied, and she was finally included on the national team in 1988. She teamed with Qiao Hong to win her first world championship title in the women’s doubles competition in 1989. Two years later in 1991, Deng won her first singles world championship. At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, she won a gold medal in both the singles and doubles competitions and repeated the feat at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, USA. She also earned singles and doubles titles at the 1995 and 1997 world championships./div>
When Deng retired at the age of 24, she had won more titles than any other player in the sport, including four Olympic gold medals, and had been World Champion 18 times. For eight straight years, from 1990 to 1997, she was the world’s No. 1 ranked female table tennis player. She was voted Chinese female athlete of the century, and joined the International Table Tennis Federation Hall of Fame in 2003.
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Deng Yaping – One of JanetTV.com’s 150 Greatest Female Athletes of All Time!
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