The LA Open Desk Tennis Event kicked off its transfer to Lengthy Seaside — and its partnership with the Ping Pong Match Worldwide Competition – Saturday, Aug. 31 on the Lengthy Seaside Conference Middle.
The event, hosted for the previous eight years at a Rosemead badminton membership, woos gamers from everywhere in the world to compete in 23 completely different ability and age divisions.
The event, within the middle’s Exhibit Corridor C, will proceed on Sunday with the semifinal and remaining rounds.
This 12 months, the event is the star attraction of the town’s first Ping Pong Match Worldwide Competition. Organizers hope that can result in ping pong tables throughout Lengthy Seaside and a designation as the primary Ping Pong Pleasant Metropolis, Barry Sedlik, CEO of competition presenter International Inventive Cities Coalition (GC3), stated earlier than the occasion’s debut.
Lengthy Seaside, with its sturdy ties to China by through the lengthy legacy of the Lengthy Seaside-Qingdao sister metropolis group, is the right place to launch that effort, Sedlik stated.
He added that he had been inspired by preliminary talks with the town and leaders of the native YMCA and Boys & Women Golf equipment. GC3 and their companions are working with the town, aiming to put ping pong tables at parks and different public venues all through the town.
Saturday’s opening day included probabilities for leisure gamers to rub elbows (and paddles) with top-tier gamers. It additionally featured vendor cubicles, superstar company, sister-city representatives, leisure and different actions.
Competition organizers additionally created the partnership with the LA Open Desk Tennis Event Affiliation, and timed the primary competition to incorporate the affiliation’s ninth annual championship event.
“Transferring to Lengthy Seaside has been an improve for us and we’re very blissful to be right here,” stated LA Open vice chairman George Chou on Saturday.
Chou, 72, is a type of of us in love with the game. He’s performed table tennis since he was a boy rising up in Wuhan, China and later in Taiwan.
“Some mates of mine and I received collectively 9 years in the past and stated let’s do a ping pong event. The primary event was an enormous success in 2011 so we simply saved doing it,” stated Chou, who moved to the U.S. in 1983. “It began with about 200 gamers — and we have now greater than 430 gamers this 12 months”
Males’s Open Division top-seed Eugene Wang, who resides in Toronto however grew up in Shi Jia Zhuang, China, has gained three U.S. Open Championships and one LA Open championship in singles. Wang competed for Canada within the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
“Once I was younger my mother introduced me to her firm and there was a table and I simply began taking part in it and I preferred it,” Wang stated. “This can be a very nice event and that’s why I’m right here yearly. Who wouldn’t need to go to California?”
One of many prime U.S.-born gamers competing is Timothy Wang, 32, of Houston, a veteran of the U.S. Olympic workforce. “It was actually a humbling expertise if you stroll into the Olympic Village,” he stated Saturday, “and also you’re sitting subsequent to Michael Phelps and Lebron James.”
“My mother began placing me on the ping-pong table once I was 5,” stated Wang. “It has been a household sport for us. I’ve two older brothers and this gave us one thing to do as a household.”
The game appeals to gamers of all ages, so LA Open boasts a number of youth divisions. Bosman Botha, 11, of Los Altos Hills, competed in each the under-12 and 14-15-year-old division this weekend.
“It’s been an OK day,” he stated. “I gained the round-robin within the under-12 division and misplaced within the quarterfinals of the 14-15 division. After every match I have a look at it and see what labored and what didn’t and attempt to be taught from it,” Bosman stated.
“I prepare day-after-day and take it severely, however I nonetheless have enjoyable,” he added. “My relations preferred to play it. At first I’d lose each match, however now my dad hasn’t overwhelmed me in two years. I like that.”
The competition and the event proceed in tandem Sunday.
The competition is free – doorways open at 9 a.m. Admission to the event is a further value; tickets might be bought on the door. For extra data, go surfing to laopentt.com.
The best stage championship (Open Division) finals will start at roughly three p.m. The Open Division Doubles Finals come first, then the Open Division Ladies and Males’s semifinals at 5 p.m., adopted by the finals round 6 p.m.
SCNG staffer Harry Saltzgaver contributed to this story.