Two-time Paralympic Gold Medallist joins University of Nottingham Ningbo China

17 March 2021

16 March, Ningbo China: Zhao Shuai, a two-time Paralympic Gold Medallist in Table Tennis, recently joined the Physical Education (PE) coaching staff at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC). On 15 March, he gave his first Table Tennis class to UNNC students.

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Zhao Shuai is giving instructions to a student

Although the first lesson was mostly theory based, Shuai devoted much of his time to getting to know his students. “Understanding students and their aptitude is important to deliver effective classes. Because it’s unreasonable to expect them to all play professionally, my teaching methods will vary according to their different skill levels,” he said.

Having competed successfully at many international events, Zhao Shuai is eager to share his experience and passion for Table Tennis with students. 

In my class, I’ll teach students not only the theory of playing table tennis but also the practical experience I’ve gained from many competitions. My personal goal is to inspire more students to love sports and to develop an interest in playing table tennis in particular.

Zhao Shuai

After the semester’s teaching finishes in May, Shuai will be heading to the Tokyo Paralympic Games to defend his title. He is confident of winning a third successive gold medal. “I’m in excellent form and with years of practice, my skills and experience are more mature than ever before,” he said.

This is Zhao Shuai’s first teaching role. His bond with the University stems from 2016 when he studied English at UNNC with a Deng Yaping Sports Scholarship - which assists young athletes to obtain an education at some of the world's top universities.

Zhao Shuai noted that the English language support he received from UNNC was a great help and has not stopped learning English since. His longer-term goal is to pursue a postgraduate degree with the University, at either the UK or Ningbo campus. “Studying at the University of Nottingham has always been my aspiration,” Shuai added.

Sarah Humphreys, Director of Sport & PE at UNNC, expressed a warm welcome. “Myself and my colleagues are thrilled to be welcoming Zhao Shuai to our team, where he will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the PE programme,” Sarah said. “He will be a fantastic role model and we look forward to his involvement with our programmes.”

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Zhao Shuai at the Rio Paralympic Games