Last Friday, the UTM Ping Pong Club held its final event of the year, seeing an impressive number of participants come and compete for ping pong supremacy. It was like Balls of Fury in the multipurpose room in the athletic facilities.
At the beginning of the event, students participated in accuracy and team-building challenges, which improved their skills before the one-on-one tournament began. Organizers gathered up the participants and put them into groups where games are held at four different tables allocated throughout the room. Balls flew around, screams and chants were heard from down the hall, and new friendships and rivalries were built. Bring a water bottle before coming, because the games can get mentally and physically fatiguing.
During these tournaments, the better players with more experience enjoyed helping the beginners improve their skills. The players with crafty serving styles went around and demonstrated their strategies to help improve the overall quality of play.
Prizes are always handed out at the end of the tournaments; this year, participants received ping pong balls and $25 and $50 Square One gift cards to the second place and first place finishers, respectively.
Ali Aleyan finished in second place after having a great round robin tournament, winning all of his preliminary games. Although Aleyan had trouble against Ruan Venter in the finals, with Venter taking two straight 11-point matches (13-11, 12-10) and taking home the $50 gift card.
“The turnout was pretty nice; we had 12 people participate in the tournament and 16 to 18 people participate in the mini-games,” says UTM Ping Pong Club president Pritesh Patel.
Next year, the goal for the Ping Pong Club is to include more tournaments in their schedule, with the hope of having at least one every month. With more awareness and participation, the $5 membership fee will help purchase fun prizes for top finishers. Patel believes it would be a unique experience to have Anqi Luo come out and play against the dedicated participants. Luo is one of Canada’s top female table tennis players with strong aspirations for the next summer Olympics.
“Our biggest goal for next year would be holding an event in the big [RAWC] gym. This grabs the attention of many people, and we hope to draw larger crowds next year,” says Patel.