A table tennis champion has been stripped of his $45,000 prize money for kicking an ad hoarding in an over-excited celebration.

Chinese player Zhang Jike fly-kicked two hoardings after beating Ma Long in the final of the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Düsseldorf. Now, the International Table Tennis Federation has decided to withhold his prize money in light of his actions.

The match on Sunday between compatriots Zhang and Ma is said to have been one of the most exciting, dramatic finals ever witnessed. But celebrating his victory, Zhang ran across the arena and jump-kicked two separate hoardings, putting his foot through them, before throwing his shirt into the crowd.

“I am very sorry for what I did”, he said afterwards. “It was not acceptable behaviour and I am sorry.”

Check out this short video of Zhang’s exuberant celebration:



Zhang isn’t the first elite athlete to be fined for behaving inappropriately during a game, and he won’t be the last. There will be many who feel that $45,000 is a high price to pay for a moment of exuberance, but the advertisers can’t complain too much – a lot more people probably looked at their hoarding this weekend than if Zhang hadn’t put his foot through it.

Sources: Toychan, ITTF
Top image: YouTube/ITTF