Joyce Xu is the winner of TTCAN’s 2021 Athlete of the Year award, which recognizes a distinguished table tennis player who has excelled at various levels of competition. The 18-year-old Toronto-born table tennis champion joined the My Table Tennis Club in Markham when she was only eight. A year later, she participated in her first tournament – the 2011 Canadian Junior Championships.  

Since then, Joyce has competed both nationally and internally for Canada. In 2019, she won bronze at the PanAm Senior Championships, playing in double with Zhang Mo, as well as silver at the PanAm Junior Championships. But her proudest achievement to date was when she won gold in the U18 Girls Singles category at the 2019 Canadian Junior Championships.

“Table tennis has a unique combination of athleticism, technique and strategy. There are so many different aspects to table tennis, which makes it a really interesting sport to play,” says Joyce. “Major losses and periods of seemingly no improvement or growth have made me stronger and made me learn a lot more about myself.”

Joyce’s coaches, Shen Qiang, May Tong and Siquan Wu, have previously described her as “a very coachable player” who gives it her all during key moments of a game.

Her efforts and dedication to the sport were also recognized last year, when she was awarded the Academic Scholarship from the Champlain Table Tennis Club.