Saturday, February 11, 2017

Angela Guan (CA, USA)

When you see 18 year old Angela Guan playing table tennis, it difficult to believe that she has only been playing the sport for a little over six years. Originally a gymnast, Angela gave up gymnastics in favor of her family's favorite sport at the age of twelve. Hard work, dedication, and a never give-up attitude have made Angela one of the top female table tennis athletes in the U.S.

I had the opportunity to ask Angela a few questions. I hope you enjoy getting to know her!

Quick facts about Angela:
Highest USATT rating 2451
Currently #7 (Women) and #3 (Junior Girls) in USA
Two-time U.S. National Junior Girls Team Member (2016, 2014)
2015 U.S. Women's World Team Member
2013 U.S. National Cadet Girls Team Member 
Sponsored by Butterfly


Angela Guan, 2016 U.S. National Junior Girls Team Member

With Angela Guan at the 2016 U.S. National Championships

1. You recently returned from the World Junior Championships. I know you are a senior in high school. How are you juggling training, international competition, school workload, and college applications? 
It has definitely been a challenge juggling training, competitions, schoolwork, and college applications. For example, during most of September, October, and November, I was focusing on exam preparation and college apps, but I kept training and playing local leagues. Table tennis actually helped me balance studying by forcing me to work on time management and re-focusing after training. My family has also been really supportive.

2. Let's go back to when it all began ... Tell us about how you started with table tennis.

I started table tennis when I was twelve years old. I had always been a gymnast, but my grandfather, a self-taught avid player, wanted me to play table tennis and introduced me to the sport. Since then, I have never stopped loving the sport.

3. What equipment do you currently use?
Blade: Butterfly Joo Sae Hyuk
Forehand rubber: Butterfly Tenergy 64
Backhand rubber: Feint Long II

4. How often do you play and train?

I play almost every weekday and train with coaches two to three times a week.

5. What do you like about chopping? Have you always been one?

I started playing with long pips because my mom is also a chopper. I learned chopping from her and other chopper coaches. I like how chopping is a unique style that has developed so much over the years. It offers a great variety to the game.

6. You will soon be attending college. What are your future plans as far as table tennis goes? Do you hope to continue training through your college years and beyond? 
I do not want to give up table tennis, so I hope to be able to practice with friends or former teammates in college. There are also opportunities to continue the sport in college.

7. What do you think are some of the most important skills for a table tennis player to have in order to reach the highest level?
An interest in the sport, goals, passion, perseverance, patience, commitment, and support.

8. Tell us about your most memorable match versus another chopper.
My most memorable match was the quarterfinals in Hong Kong Junior Open against Kana Tekeuchi from Japan. It was a very memorable match because I was down 1:2 and 2:3 when we started the expedite system in the 6th game. It was my first time playing by that rule. In the 7th game, I was up 10:7 but unfortunately lost 11:13. We played a match that lasted over 1.5 hours! I fondly remember how our coaches applauded both of us for being so strong-willed and patient.

9. If you could spend a day talking to and training with any player or coach from the past or present, who would it be and why?

If I could spend a day talking to or training with any player or coach, I would probably choose to learn from and practice with Viktoria Pavlovich, Seo Hyowon, Wu Yang, or Hu Limei. They are all amazing choppers that I look up to.

10. Who is your all-time favorite table tennis player? Why?
My favorite table tennis players are Kim Kyung-Ah, Wu Yang, and Ding Ning. I like the technique and consistency of Kim and Wu, and I like watching Ding Ning’s game.

11. Is there one person that has played a significant role in your success? If so, how? 

My grandfather has played a significant role by inspiring me and being the first person to teach me table tennis. He always encourages me to play, picks up balls for me, practices with me, and analyzes table tennis with me. I am also thankful for the countless people who have helped me and continue to do so.

12. Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks, Rahul, for doing these interviews! Thank you for your contribution in promoting the sport through media! I hope to help promote the sport in the U.S. too!


Angela, thanks for your time, and good luck in all your future table tennis endeavors!