Bay Area-native and three-time table tennis Olympian Lily Zhang competed in Pleasanton this weekend, which happens as she hopes to secure a spot on Team USA in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Zhang, along with her team the Bay Area Blasters, were at the Alameda County Fairgrounds as part of Major League Table Tennis’ inaugural season.
A victory Friday means the team has already qualified for the upcoming Olympics, but that doesn’t mean Zhang is a shoe-in. The team, with eight players and a coach, can send three people to Paris.
Those three will be determined by the Olympic trials, which are coming up in March.
Speaking with NBC Bay Area Saturday, Zhang said she vividly remembers the opening ceremony of her fist Olympics. That happened when she was just 16.
“There was Serena Willians to my left and Kobe Bryant to my right, and I’m like, ‘this isn’t real life,’ you know?” she said. “But I think that moment cemented this belief that I have the ability and the capability to keep going and go for more and get better results. And I’m hoping to one day be able to medal for Team USA.”
Zhang was born in Redwood City and attended UC Berkeley.
In addition to competing at the Olympics three times, Zhang is also a six-time U.S. National Champion table tennis athlete.
Source: NBC Bay Area