The public was invited to play a round of ping-pong against Table Tennis Olympian and North American Champion Wu Yue at the Shops at Liberty Place in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Yue is in town for the 2016 Women’s World Cup of Table Tennis, taking place at Temple University’s Liacouras Center October 7-9.
Her challengers, mostly male dressed in work attire, waited nearly 30 minutes each to play. But if they were able to get one past the international star, they were awarded one ticket for every point scored and Yue smiled through almost every serve.
Pranav Sheth, dressed in slacks and a dress shirt, scored three times on Yue. He humbly shook her hand and told reporters Yue was “taking it easy” on him. Sheth fared better than most of the challengers.
Having the World Cup at Temple is great for the city and great for the sport, said Yilin Wu, a Temple graduate student and table tennis player who also scored on the champion. Wu especially enjoys the game because it’s exercise that’s unlikely to injure, she said.
There’s a lot to love about the game, she said. More than physical stamina, it requires intense focus, and “you need to be smart to play.”
Yue’s going into the cup without expectations. And she never thinks about winning.
“I just fight for every single ball.”