Ping-Pong Champ Does It Again
April 07, 2005
Basketball players playing pick-up games at the Rec Center Wednesday night shouted over the erratic pop of ping-pong balls being whizzed across the tables.
Twenty-four students strived for ping-pong supremacy on three blue Stiga ping-pong tables placed on a rec center basketball court during International Week's ping-pong tournament.
Ayumu Minegishi, Yokohama, Japan freshman, who won last semester's Intramural table tennis tournament, claimed the title with his final round win over India native Anantha Rama.
"I really had a fun time," Minegishi said. "I almost didn't win."
The cultural aim of the International Week tournament was not to showcase ping-pong as an ethic or cultural sport, but rather to use the game as a means to draw a diverse field of participants.
"Ping-pong is really popular in middle-eastern countries as well as eastern Asian countries, and I thought it would be a good idea to use this game to bring all these cultures together," said Khuzaima Haider, event organizer and Pakistani graduate student.
The competitors consisted of Middle Easterners, Eastern Asians and Americans, each bringing his or her particular style of play to the event. Tournament winner, Minegishi, brought his own Japanese styled paddle, which had broader grip and a square face instead of the traditional circle, as well as a distinct serve.
"Table tennis is much bigger in Japan than in the U.S.,: Minegishi said. "People don't just play at parties or other times like that. They play all the time."
Zack Lueth, Fort Worth Freshman, lost in an early round. Between matches, he and other eliminated players broke into casual conversation about the tournament and equipment.
Lueth, and Minegishi, carried on about their paddles and what differences the styles of paddles made, and looked as if they were becoming fast friends. All in the name of ping-pong ... or table tennis, as Minegishi calls it.