“Sport and politics often collide, and leaders have increased their efforts to harness the role of sport in furthering their national interests. But sporting competitions have been taking place between nation states in conflict for millennia.”
Commonly throughout history we have seen sport used as a diplomatic tool to bring countries together. Probably the most prolific example of this is the Olympic Games, where a ‘truce’ was put into play to ensure that all participants, spectators and officials were able to travel and participate safely. Over the years, we have seen sports diplomacy win in many cases, but also lose.
After researching the history of table tennis, it was interesting to find that this particular sport was used in the means of diplomacy between two countries, China and the United States of America.
The clip below provides a brief overview.
Another clip for further information!
China felt that by opening and inviting the US, they would break the hostility between neighbours and initiate a possible shift in alliances.
Since then, we can see that there has been a regular US presidential trip to China. It is interesting to evaluate, how Sports and in particular table tennis has the ability to unite and create a common ground for unfamiliar and at times feuding countries.