Deng Yaping [CFP]
Deng Yaping, former world and Olympic table tennis champion, was appointed deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth League Beijing Municipal Committee Thursday.
Deng, who won four Olympic gold medals and 18 world championships, was deputy minister of the Olympic Village during the 2008 Beijing Games.
After retiring from sports in 1997, the 36-year-old studied for 11 years at Beijing's Tsinghua University and Britain's University of Nottingham and University of Cambridge.
Deng, about 150 cm in height, started to play table tennis at the age of five and entered the national table tennis team at 14.
Deng, dubbed "short giant", was once denied a place in the national team because she was too short, but her technique and perseverance conquered coaches as well as rivals.
Deng joined the International Olympic Committee's Athletes Commission in 2000 and was elected member of the IOC's Sport and Environment Commission in 2002. She also was one of the ambassadors for Beijing's 2008 Olympic bid.
(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2009)