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Pingpong Match Almost Immediately Devolves Into Nothing But Amazing Tricks

Ralphie Aversa
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Usually I associate professional pingpong with the famous scene from "Forrest Gump." But that changed when a video of China's Chuang Chih-Yuan and Belgium's Jean-Michel Saive hit the Internet. The players take part in a pingpong showdown for the ages — theatrics, sound effects, and trick shots included.

A video of the match is on YouTube and has almost 4.5 million views in less than a week. The match commences in a relatively normal fashion: The two players exchange volleys back and forth from an immediate proximity to the table's ends. But after only 40 seconds, you begin to see where things start to take a turn for the absurd. Rallies between Chih-Yuan and Saive begin to increase in both distance and time. Then the players act out — with Saive pretending to faint after one rally and Chih-Yuan rushing to "resuscitate" him.

About seven minutes in, the players decide that the current court configuration needs a switch. Chih-Yuan and Saive turn the table 90 degrees so that the judge is directly behind Saive. The two then volley, over both the net and judge.

Eventually the table is returned to its original position, where multiple pingpong balls are entered into play. When a paddle won't suffice, the players simply head butt the ball soccer-style over to the opponent.

The match seems to end with Chih-Yuan as the winner, but clearly the competition was the last thing on anyone's mind.

Saive and Chih-Yuan's roots might explain why they share exemplary table tennis skills. Both come from professional pingpong families. Their mothers and fathers played professionally in their countries.

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