Beijing, Apr 16: Ding Hui, 19, born to a South African father and a Chinese mother,will be representing China at the London Olympics in 2012. He will be the first black athlete to play a key role in China's push for gold at the event.
The Telegraph reported that Ding Hui will be playing with the national team's new 18-man volleyball squad.
Ding who is affectionately nicknamed Xiao Hei, or Little Black, by his teammates, speaks only Mandarin, the local dialect. Commentators have noted that he has a 'pleasant and perky nature' and is talented at 'singing and dancing'.On Chinese Internet forums, he has been lauded for the 'whiteness' of his teeth and the 'athleticism of his genes'.
His elevation has however, has stirred up some racial prejudices among his countrymen.
China's black population is tiny, and attitudes remain relatively unsophisticated. One predominately African suburb in the southern city of Guangzhou is cheerfully referred to as 'Chocolate City'. However, China's black population is growing rapidly.