While some people may be breathlessly glued to their TVs, watching the Masters Tournament and Tiger Woods’ return to the world of golf, others are watching the championships of another sport—the New York City Open for table tennis is being held this weekend in Manhattan, on New York’s Upper West Side.
About 250 players, among the best in the world, are competing for the title up at Columbia University. The U.S. National men’s single champion is 15-year-old Michael Landers, who lives in Long island and is a sophomore in high school.
The tournament also supports an after school table-tennis program run by the American Youth Table Tennis Organization. In addition to giving players a chance to compete, it’s also a way to spread the news about the sport on a grass-roots level and get more people interested in playing.
The championship match will be played today in the Frances Levien Gymnasium in the Dodge Fitness Center at Columbia University, 2960 Broadway. There’s no charge for spectators, but donations are welcome. (Go to nationaltabletennis.com for more information about both the tournaments and the sport itself.)
The JOOLA North American Tour goes on all summer. The Eastern Open takes place May 22 and May 23 at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, and will be on view again at the 2012 games in London.
And yes, it’s the same thing as Ping Pong. Ping Pong is actually a registered sports trademark (Note: It’s kind of like calling your tissues Kleenex.)
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