While China is lamenting its soccer program they can take heart knowing that their table tennis skills are second to none thanks to athletes such as current world and Olympic champion Zhang Jike and third-place Xu Xin who can be seen in this video rallying it out like the pros they are.
However, at one point in the video, Zhang pulls out a secret weapon that no one–especially Xu–could have seen coming: the bottom of his shoe.
The video starts off with Zhang and Xu exchanging short-distance hits. As the rallying intensifies Xu begins to play deeper but Zhang stays close to the table.
Suddenly Xu begins hitting lobs to Zhang in an effort to trip him up, but by the third lob Zhang decided to give it a little tap with his foot by lifting it up over the table. Amazingly, he was able to kick it just enough to get it over the net but not allow Xu to rush in and return it.
As the video hit the internet, praises to the “table tennis god” were plentiful. Comments among the lines of “great” and “kung-fu tennis” were many, but one was simply confused, saying: “That wasn’t a foul… he got a point…”
Indeed, Zhang’s kick was allowed by the judges. Apparently there weren’t any rules against it for this tournament, which was held on 18 June. Everyone understandably must have thought that a player would have to be insane or the best in the world to try something like that.
The move was a big hit with the crowd though, and even Xu appeared to be grinning as he ran in and missed the return.
In an interesting twist to this story, Zhang Jike was named after the Brazilian soccer player and current coach Zico. With the precision he hit that tiny ball, Zhang Jike just lived up to his name.