Titelfoto WUG Tischtennis 2023André Goerschel

Table tennis player Kathrin Hessenthaler at the FISU World University Games in China

  • Datum: 11.08.2023
  • Kathrin Hessenthaler, a Master of Education student at KIT, competed with the German student table tennis team at the FISU World University Games in Chengdu, China, from July 28 to August 8, 2023 and was able to compete on an international stage with athletes from all over the world. Here she talks about her experiences at the FISU Games 2023:

    The opening ceremony of the FISU Games 2023 in Chengdu, China

    The FISU Games opened with a spectacular opening ceremony and an impressive fireworks display. As at the Olympic Games, all athletes were allowed to enter the stadium with their respective national flags to thunderous applause. This was a real goosebump moment for us athletes. It was an incredible feeling for Germany to run into a packed stadium.

    The Olympic feeling

    All the athletes from all over the world lived in the so-called FISU Village for these two weeks. They met athletes from other nations at meals, in the gym, at the attractions or on the electric shuttle bus in the Village. All German athletes were accommodated in the German House. This brought them into contact with athletes from other sports and other countries.

    The competition

    I competed in table tennis in Chengdu. I was allowed to compete for medals in the team, singles and doubles disciplines.

    In the team, we first played in groups of four, with the best two qualifying for the knockout round. We came second and then lost to the team from Korea in the round of 16 (9th place in the team ranking).

    In the singles, I also came second in the preliminary round group and then lost to a player from Hong Kong in the knockout round. (33rd place in the individual ranking)

    In the doubles with Caroline Hajok from TU Braunschweig, we narrowly lost 2:3 to two players from India in the second knockout round. (17th place in the doubles ranking)

    Although I came back from Chengdu without a medal, it was an incredible and unforgettable experience for me. The standard there was very high, especially from players from Asia. For example, the world number 6 (a player from China, who also triumphed in the singles and team events) took part. Some of the senior national teams from European countries also took part, so I was pleased with my performance. Table tennis is much more important in China than in Germany. It was something special for me to play in a stadium in front of around 10,000 spectators against the best female students from all over the world, to sign autographs for the Chinese spectators after a match or to take pictures with spectators. Such an experience is unimaginable in European table tennis.


    It was an impressive and unforgettable experience for me. It was an honor to be part of the German team at the second largest multi-sport event in the world. This event has been the highlight of my sporting career so far and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their support and organization. In 2025, Germany and the Rhine-Ruhr region will host the FISU Games.

    Source cover photo: André Goerschel