The 2012 London Olympics, was Chuang Chih-yuan’s first time ever advancing into the Olympic Men’s table tennis semi-finals. For someone who has had more than his fair share of struggles and lows to continue to have such a fight and persistence really got our respect.
These players have been flying overseas to compete for many years. Although many companies, associations or predecessors accompany them and try their best to support them. Most of the opponents come from countries that have a very good professional league—such as China, Europe, Japan etc.; they come from very good training with excellent resources. In order to have a solid standing in the international arena, aside from raw talent, hard work and ability to overcome hardship is mandatory.
When we first considered looking for a spokesperson for Artificer, sports figures naturally came to mind. The Artificer spirit invokes one that in addition to focusing on your field of expertise, more importantly, it requires a steadfast passion and a courage to continually grow and breakthrough. This type of mindset is rare in non-athletes!
After a period of observation and review of all the information. Our team intuitively chose Chuang Chih-yuan and Hsu Shu-ching, two professional athletes who embody the Artificer spirit.
After contacting the family of Chuang Chih-yuan. The team members set off to Kaohsiung for a visit.
What greeted us was a massive wall of barking sounds. The number of dogs found in the training center was astonishing—describing it like an army of dogs would not be an exaggeration in the least! We learned that all of these were stray dogs that were adopted by Chih-yuan’s family and each and every one of them are all very well taken care of. In the late afternoon, Chih-yuan’s mother put on gloves and started to prepare the food which consisted of ground meats for all the dogs, she really looked like a traditional market meat vendor preparing the orders for customers.
During our conversations, their entire family was very polite, straight-forward, natural and took our questions very seriously. This was the impression that their family gave us.
Establishing a stadium, the whole family working to cultivate new table tennis stars
Walking into the Chuang Chih-yuan Ping Pong Stadium, we see many young players being trained by the Chuang family who are focused on practicing. With the constant sounds of the balls hitting the racquets and the tables, the stadium sounds like a concert hall filled with many different percussionists. In addition to practicing table tennis skills, Chih-yuan’s Mother and Chuang Chih-hsiung (Chih-yuan’s older brother) are very strict with the young players’ etiquette. They are all very polite and courteous, which is the deep impression that the Chih-yuan Ping Pong Stadium children left with us.
This Ping Pong Stadium is the seed for the future cultivation of table tennis in Taiwan by the Chuang family. They once said that creating and building the stadium was quite a lot of pressure. But with the support of many people, they were able to continue and complete the stadium. Asides from being grateful and giving their all, they are sowing the seeds of hope, one player after another, anticipating Taiwan’s table tennis legacy will continue.
Chuang Chih-yuan has been involved in table tennis for 30 years. He has experienced limiting resources, training in unfamiliar settings, has gained much experience by competing in many large and small competitions. Even now, after creating the training center, cultivating new players—it’s not unfair to say that he has devoted his entire life to the sport. Unstoppable, his progress is unending. He continues to travel and competes in the different championships around the world to challenge himself.
For us, to be able to cooperate with an athlete that exhibits such determination is really a stroke of luck and fate.