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RIO DE JANEIRO -- When Lily Zhang, the American table tennis ace, decided she wanted to make her sport a priority, she took a year off from college to devote to practice, including three months playing with pros in Austria. Cheap Custom Bulls Jersey . It paid off, landing her on the Olympic team for the second time.But her decision -- leaving behind friends, family and studies at the University of California at Berkeley to put in grueling six-hour-a-day sessions for months -- highlights an unfortunate truth for U.S. table tennis: In the quest to build a team of professionals to challenge powerhouse China, school is the enemy.To succeed in a sport like table tennis that demands obsessive practice but provides little financial support, young athletes often must give up their education, at least temporarily.Many end up eventually choosing college, even if theyre good enough to make the Olympics.It was very hard to balance, Zhang, 20, who lost in the third round in singles and plays in the team event on Friday, said of her freshmen year at Berkeley. I found myself only practicing once every two weeks or even once a month.Zhang, who hunched over a PC after a recent practice session in Rio registering online for classes for her delayed sophomore year, knows that her practice time will plunge again when she returns to school later this month.I definitely cannot play professionally during university, she said. It would be very difficult to play six hours a day.And theres the dilemma.Its natural, though often painful, for young athletes playing under-funded, less popular sports like table tennis to choose college. But it puts the Americans perpetually in the hole against China, Japan and Europe, where table tennis often enjoys government support.The two things in the U.S. are currently not compatible, Massimo Costantini, the U.S. table tennis coach, said of college and high-level table tennis.To be a professional table tennis player, he said, you cant do anything else. But to do so you need support. ... What if we had the same support as other countries?A good example of the quandary table tennis faces in the United States can be seen with Ariel Hsing, a young player who made a run at the London Olympics, losing a hard-fought game in the third round to the eventual gold medalist from China.But when she started at Princeton, Costantini said, education took over. You cant make a living from table tennis for the rest of your life. Several good players, they suddenly stop because of college. ... I understand, but it is hard. I have regrets for what might have been.Kanak Jha, a 16-year-old American who was the youngest male ever to qualify for table tennis in Olympic history, takes online classes and trains with professionals in Sweden.Table tennis is a sport where you have to play many hours every day to get better, and when youre so focused on school and table tennis it gets really tough mentally and physically, Jha said.Money can be as big a problem as finding practice time.Another young American, Yijun Feng, 19, who, like Jha, lost in the first round in Rio but will play in the team event Friday, took a year off after graduating from high school to practice six hours a day in China.Feng, who will attend the University of Georgia after the Olympics, says he may take time off again after his freshman year to train and hopes to get an equipment sponsorship; in the meantime, he and his parents pay for everything, including expensive equipment and tours that can cost as much as $5,000.Leaving the sport can sometimes bring as much relief as grief.Michael Landers, a promising young table tennis talent who ultimately failed to make the 2012 Olympic team, is shown in the documentary Top Spin weeping after missing his chance for those games. Later, after enrolling at New York University, he described the intense pressure of juggling friends, family, school and table tennis.Everything I felt was just riding on my back. And then just to be finished with that, he said of his tears after the loss. I was really, really happy to just be done with it, even though I was crushed.---Follow Foster Klug at Cheap Bulls Jerseys . The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Lions have not announced the hiring, which was first reported by ESPN. Lombardi, the grandson of former Green Bay Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, has been an offensive assistant on Sean Paytons New Orleans staff since 2007. Custom Bulls Jerseys . The Islanders dealt Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens after less than a year on Long Island. Meanwhile, the Oilers dealt long-time sniper Ales hemsky to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-rounder in 2015. . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., has nothing but good things to say about former U.S. marine Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche ahead of their co-main event Wednesday on the UFCs "Fight for the Troops" televised card in Fort Campbell, Ky.Australia captain Steve Smith helped his bowlers skittle New Zealand for 183, and then scored 71 to lead the team to 147-3 in reply on day one of the first Test in Wellington. The visitors bowled first at the Basin Reserve and Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum, playing his 100th consecutive Test, was out for a seven-ball duck as his side found themselves in almost irreversible trouble at 51-5 within the first hour.Corey Anderson (38), No. 9 Mark Craig (41 not out) and No. 11 Trent Boult (24) offset some of the damage by putting on 86 for the last three wickets, but New Zealand were still out in only 48 overs and before tea.The first seven wickets in New Zealands innings fell to catches behind the wicket, four to keeper Peter Nevill. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum looks dejected as he walks And the domination of the bowlers continued when Australia lost openers Joe Burns (0) and David Warner (5) inside the first three overs to be 5-2, but Smith turned the tide as he joined Usman Khawaja in a 127-run partnership for the third wicket.Smith was dropped by Craig at slip when on 18 and was fidgety at the crease until the pitch calmed down and he could play with more confidence.He appeared set for a century when he gave Craig another chance and the spinner claimed a sharp return caatch. John Paxson Jersey Large. Australia skipper Smith in action against New Zealand Khawaja finished 57 not out and Adam Voges was 7 not out. There was one last drama before stumps when the latter was bowled by Doug Bracewell off a no ball which appeared to be a mistake by the umpire.Australia bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle were outstanding in their opening spells.Hazlewood took 3-25 from his first eight overs and Siddle 2-6 from five. They shared the first seven wickets before spinner Nathan Lyon took the last three. And Hazlewood finished with 4-42 to lead a depleted attack that was already down on strength with the retirement of Mitchell Johnson and injury to Mitchell StarcAustralia also lost James Pattinson to shin soreness before this match. His place was taken by Jackson Bird, who played his first Test since 2013 and went wicketless. Siddle had 3-19 after 11 over and finished with 3-37.Anderson stemmed the tide of New Zealand wickets with an innings of 38 in 144 minutes, which included partnerships of 37 with B.J. Watling and 40 with Craig.The 10th-wicket stand between Craig and Boult featured three sixes by Boult off Lyon. That took him to 16 for his Test career; the most ever by a No. 11 batsman.Watch day two of the first Test between New Zealand and Australia on Sky Sports 2 HD from 9.30pm on Friday. ' ' ' 
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