He Bing Jiao is a woman of many talents.
Not only is she a fierce competitor on the court, she is also dedicated to broadening her intellectual horizons. In addition to her rigorous training and competition schedule, He is committed to mastering the English language and delving into philosophy books, including the works of ancient Greek philosopher Plato.
He’s interest in philosophy stems from her desire to improve as a person, both on and off the court.
“Although I’m an athlete, I also want to become a better human being. I like to read philosophy books during my downtime. Plato is one I read during the World Championships and the Japan Open last year.”
The 26-year-old believes that by studying philosophy, she gains a deeper understanding of the world and people around her. This can be especially helpful for athletes, who often deal with high-pressure situations and complex interpersonal dynamics. Athletes can learn to think more critically, communicate more effectively and understand the perspectives of others.
Learning English has also been a priority for the world No.5, recognising the importance of being able to connect with fans from different parts of the planet. In today’s globalised world, it is crucial for athletes to communicate with supporters, sponsors and fellow competitors.
To that end, the lefthander watches movies and TV shows, and listens to music – all in English. “When people speak slowly, I’m able to understand everything. I think the British accent is beautiful,” she said.
He’s dedication to becoming proficient in English means she has been taking classes and practicing whenever the opportunity arises. “Training in China, I practice with a teacher, and when we are on the World Tour, I try to do things remotely, such as improving my vocabulary. My time in Birmingham (during the All England) was a good opportunity to practice as well,” He added.
“I remember doing my first television interview in English at the French Open. I was so nervous but I’m progressing every day.”
By striving to become a well-rounded individual, He sets an example not only for aspiring athletes but anyone looking to make the most of their potential with the truly admirable pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.