SHIFANG, China - Zheng Jie, a Sichuan native, returned home on Wednesday near the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that killed nearly 69,000 people. Zheng, who last year donated her Wimbledon prize money to the earthquake victims, shared her personal story of success at the Hong Bai School in Shifang, Sichuan Province, providing hope and inspiration to the children. Students also had a chance to play tennis and receive tips from the three-time Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title holder.
Zheng and the Tour donated Wilson racquets and balls, while Anta and Mercedes Benz partnered to also make donations to the school children. Through cooperation with school authorities, the Tour will also invite two students along with their families to the upcoming China Open in October as a reward for their outstanding performance in sports and academia, as well as their courage and determination in the face of the Sichuan earthquake.
"I was born and raised in Sichuan and feel a responsibility to help rebuild my hometown," Zheng said about the visit to her home province. "With this visit and tennis equipment and accessories, we want to bring hope and cheer to these children. I want them to feel all the support of their community, China and the world and I hope they will continue to be strong and never give up or give in."
Shifang is about 40 kilometers away from Wenchuan, the hardest-hit town in the May 12, 2008 China earthquake disaster. 159 out of more than 740 students and teachers at Hong Bai School were killed in this tragedy, with school buildings and facilities severely damaged and reduced to rubble.
"It has been difficult in the past year to recover from the earthquake, trying to reconstruct a school and a system from rubble, after losing so many colleagues and students," said Cheng Shilin, headmaster of Hong Bai School. "We would like to thank the Sony Ericson WTA Tour and Zheng Jie for their generosity in helping our students progress towards a better future."
David Shoemaker, Head of Asia-Pacific for the Tour, commented: "The Sichuan Earthquake was a tragedy that was felt around the world and inspired many to offer various types of support for the victims. We are proud to join Zheng Jie as she shares her heroic story and helps bring the sport of tennis to inspire students in Sichuan near the anniversary of such loss."
Zheng was named Comeback Player of the Year at the recent Tour Awards in Miami. Only eight players received recognition for their remarkable achievements for 2008. Zheng, who was marred by injuries in 2007, rebounded with her best season to date by reaching her first Grand Slam singles semifinal at Wimbledon, beating then-No.1 Ana Ivanovic en route. She also reached the semifinals at Tour events in Beijing and Guangzhou, China.
Zheng is currently the world's No.16 player, the highest ranked Asian player in professional women's tennis right now, and equal-highest ever (alongside Li Na).
:inlove: i love her soo much the earthquake motivate her to do well in Wimbledon :hug:
is that a boy in girls clothes :scratch: