HEFEI (CHINA) - Pakistan’s young table tennis sensation Kainat Malik, who is presently on China visit with Pakistan Youth delegation, created new history as she defeated Chinese youth academy player Lee Xin in friendly table tennis match played in highly advanced gymnasium on Saturday.
It was by highly sensational and unexpected performance shown by Pakistan Junior national champion Kainat, who simply outclassed her opponent. The match was arranged as part of Pakistan Youth delegation visit to Chinese sports facilities. The delegation visited several sports facilities including ping pong, athletics, tennis, basketball and badminton, while shooting ball area was also visited by the Gropu-2 of the delegation.
The Group-2 is led by Pakistan Sports Board Deputy Director General Mansoor Ahmed Khan while Chinese head of mission with the Group-2 Xu Shuwen also known as Sherry, was highly helpful -2 and also performed translation duties for the Pakistani delegation. The most interesting aspect of the visit was the match between Kainat and Lee. Kainat, who is only 17, is also Pakistan national junior team captain and had won bronze medal in South Asian Games 2017 held in Sri Lanka. She had also won two bronze medals in SAG in 2015 and 2016 as well. She had also had won 7 titles at senior and junior levels in KP as well and termed as undisputed queen of table tennis in her province. Kainat was dubbed highly underdog against highly experienced Lee, who is also academy champion, but hats off to Kainat, who never showed any signs of emotions.
Kainat started the first game on an electrifying note and put Lee under enormous pressure. As Kainat started to pile up pressure, entire arena was packed to capacity within no time and everyone was chanting Kainat’s name. It added further pressure on Lee. Kainat raced onto take 11-3 lead. After playing so well in the initial period, Kainat just got relaxed and Lee took full advantage and at one stage he was breathing right under Kainat’s neck and score was 11-10 in favour of Kainat. But the massive crowd support paid off, as Kainat woke up timely and started to once again hit winners and took the first game 21-15.
The second game started on a cautious note as Kainat was looking a bit nervous while Lee was playing for coming back in the match. Both players committed too many childish mistakes and wasted golden opportunities to put each other under pressure. It was a seesaw battle as both players were fighting for each and every point. It was 13-13, then 17-17 and then it was Xin, who had a golden chance to win the game and level the match, as he was serving for the game leading 20-19. But he missed and Kainat bounced back in style. She first leveled the game 20-20 and then took 21-20 lead. But when it matters most, she failed to wrap up the game and match as she missed a simple shot. It went right down to the wire and it was Kainat, upon whom lady luck was smiling, as she finally took the game 30-28, thus winnig the marathon encounter in an hour and 50 minutes.
Talking to The Nation, Kainat said she had shown that Pakistan players can match any opponent and they just lacked international exposure. “I am grateful to IPC Ministry for providing me with this wonderful tour and also thankful to Chinese government, as they bore all our expenses and without their support, I could have not even dream about coming and playing here.” She requested IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada to provide them international matches and top level coaching. “If players like me are based abroad, we can easily beat any given opponent and win laurels for country. I also request DG PSB Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera to provide us with long term training camps and modern day coaching under professional coaches,” Kainat concluded.