He was a super star in table tennis world back in the 1970s, but at the 15th World Veterans Table Tennis Championships which is to close on Saturday, only his best of art performance about the table revitalizes people's memory of his glorious past.
Liang Geliang, born in 1950, did not draw much attention from the crowds when he first stepped into competitions site of the veterans tournament.
"His best of art performance urged me to google his name," said a young table tennis fan Chen Xiaofeng. "To my astonishment, He is that guy Liang Geliang."
To the excitement of his findings, Chen bought a brand-new table tennis paddle and asked for Liang's signature on it.
Liang Geliang has been the most arguably successfully table tennis player in the national sport of China. With six gold medals over five world championships from 1971 to 1979, Liang Geliang was the back bone of Chinese men's table tennis. However, in both finals of 1973 and 1979 world championships, his loss to rivals cost China men's team titles.
To those people at his age, Liang Geliang was an icon and inspired many Chinese people to take up the sport.
"He was my icon," said Wang Fukuan, a retired official from Hohhot Customs.
Liang began to take part in the veterans’ championships since his 40s. "To keep playing in the sport and communicating with people make me full of energy," said Liang. "Table tennis is bridge of friendship."
To Liang, table tennis means more than a kind of sport or bridge of friendship. In 1971, he was one of the Chinese team to play the visiting Americans, an ice-broken match between China and the United States. "We were all happy to see the American team come to China," he said in an interview with media before Beijing Olympic Games two years ago. "We felt there was an urgent need for communications between us."
After retiring from professional table tennis, Liang and his family moved to Germany for a while before he joined Beijing University Medical School in 2002 and runs a table tennis club.
"I really appreciate the sport of table tennis, which brings me glory and friendship. I hope more people will join us. Be happy and have fun with it," said Liang.