January 19, 2018

Istvan Jonyer, Others at 2018 World Veterans Championships in Las Vegas
If you started playing in the 1970s, like me, then Istvan Jonyer of Hungary was a God. There's no other way of describing the 1975 World Men's Singles Champion, the big two-winged looper from a time when two-winged looping was still relatively new. He had these long, acrobatic forehand loops, like a discus thrower, looping forehands from the shoulder, and tricky sidespin backhand loops. Everybody all over the world copied these shots. In 1979 he led the Hungarian team (along with Tibor Klampár and Gábor Gergely) when they upset the Chinese team to win the World Men's Team Championships.

Jonyer's playing in the 2018 World Veterans Championships!!! Right here in Las Vegas, USA!!! You can get in line for his autograph right behind me. (Here's a picture of Jonyer ripping a ball at his peak – yeah, he went prematurely bald. That's Gergely on the left. Here's a recent picture of Jonyer with Li Zhenshi.) 

The 2018 World Veterans Championships are June 18-24, for anyone age 40 or over as of Dec. 31, 2018. The deadline to enter is March 15 or whenever they reach 5000 entries. They are currently at 3533 (here's the current listing), from exactly 80 countries, with entries coming in fast, so don't delay – enter now or miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance. The last time USA ran a World Veterans Championships was 1990. (I'll be there, doing daily coverage – but I'm not missing this once-in-a-lifetime chance, so I'm also entered in singles, and maybe doubles.)

Other big international names from the past entered include Dmitry Mazunov (the big backhand looper from Russia known for his great doubles play), Zsolt-Georg Böhm (2-time Romanian Men's Singles Champion and then 6-time German Men's Singles Champion), Danish star Allan Bentsen, and many others. There are rumors that 1991 World Men's Singles Champion Jorgen Persson will be playing (oh please oh please!), as well as Chen Weixing, the great Chinese and then Austrian player.

Big USA names competing include (with apologies to many missed):

  • Danny, Ricky, and Randy Seemiller
  • Dell & Connie Sweeris
  • David & Donna Sakai
  • Cheng Yinghua (playing Over 60 Men's Doubles with Dan Seemiller)
  • Sean O'Neill
  • George Brathwaite
  • Perry Schwartzberg
  • Li Yuxiang
  • Shao Yu
  • Gao Yan Jun
  • Jasna Rather
  • Lily Yip
  • Patty Martinez-Wasserman
  • Charlene Liu

With such a field of players, you probably don't think you have much of a chance to win anything. But that’s not the point of going to the World Veterans Championships (unless you are one of the best of your age in the world) – you go there to compete, meet other players (including the best in the world), have fun, spectate, shop, and enjoy the Las Vegas vacationland. It’ll be a full week of table tennis paradise, where you hobnob with your table tennis friends (old and new) and the stars. You’ll get to attend in person the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as sightseeing and social events planned.

So, you are now thinking of entering? Here are the eleven age events, with singles and doubles in each.

  • 40 - 44 years (Born 1978 or before)
  • 45 - 49 years (Born 1973 or before)
  • 50 - 54 years (Born 1968 or before)
  • 55 - 59 years (Born 1963 or before) – stay away, this age group is mine.
  • 60 - 64 years (Born 1958 or before)
  • 65 - 69 years (Born 1953 or before)
  • 70 - 74 years (Born 1948 or before) 
  • 75 - 79 years (Born 1943 or before) 
  • 80 - 84 years (Born 1938 or before) 
  • 85 - 89 years (Born 1933 or before) 
  • Over 90 years (Born 1928 or before)

Here is a listing of USA medalists from the 2016 World Veterans in Spain:

  • Charlene Liu/Patty Martinez won the silver medal in Women's 60-64 Doubles
  • David Sakai/Dan Seemiller won the bronze medal in Men's 60-64 Doubles
  • Minming Zhu won the gold medal in Women's Singles 60-64 Consolation
  • TingNing Cheung won the bronze in Women’s Singles 65-69
  • Ting Ning Cheung/Chiyako Suzuki won the silver medal in Women's 65-69 Doubles
  • Donna Sakai/Connie Sweeris won the bronze medal in Women's 65-69 Doubles Consolation
  • Chong Keng Tay won the bronze in Men’s Singles 75-79

This will be the largest gathering of table tennis players in U.S. history. Are you going to be part of history?

Table Tennis Books
Here's my periodic note that if you don't buy and read my table tennis books, then your opponents will, and then you will have no chance of beating them. None. So why not saunter over to my Amazon Page, and buy a few?

Of course, you could also buy someone else's books, such as:

Or, if you happen to be, shall we say, unhappy with our current president, you can try out my booklet, "Captain Exasperation Woman Meets President Trump"!

Shoulder and Other Injuries Update
My shoulder is about 80% better. I went back to private coaching last Saturday, and have been at it since. I'm still cautious about reaching to my wide forehand or in for short balls, and have to keep reminding myself not to reach over the table with my playing arm to retrieve balls against the net – any of these moves risks re-injuring it. But in general, I'm able to play regular again. I even played a series of practice games with an 1800 student – I was able to attack, but mostly played steady to avoid aggravating the injury. The rest of me is relatively healthy, though I felt a few back twinges yesterday, so I'm doing some specific stretches to make sure that doesn't get worse. Knees are fine for a change so I'm no longer wearing a knee brace – as noted previously, from July to December last year I had to take steps one at a time to protect my right knee. Arm is fine, but I still wear an arm brace when I play to keep it that way. The gash I accidently cut in the back of my right foot (from a screen door that closed on it) is getting better, but I'm still walking with a slight limp, and before playing have to put four bandages across it to protect it. Recuperating from injuries is tough when you are coaching day after day!!!

Coaching Education and Certification Work
I spent a couple hours yesterday preparing for another teleconference session at noon next Monday on setting up a USATT Coaching Education and Certification Program. Much of the time was spent watching a 45-minute video of a proposed online coaching system, using a German system as a model. One booklet I've read that we may incorporate is the USOC Coaching Framework. (Here's the entire booklet in PDF.) As always happens when you're on the USATT board of directors and coaching chair, there were numerous emails on various issues coming in, and the hardest part about getting work done is tuning them out until the work is done, or no work gets done.

Hungarian Open
Here's the ITTF page for the event, Jan. 18-21 in Budapest, with draws, results, articles, photos, and video (including live video). Fan Zhendong (CHN, world #2) and Chen Meng (CHN, world #1) lead the men's and women's draws.

Here are match highlights (3:38) from the round of 32, Vladimir Samsonov (BLR, world #25, former #1) vs. Patrick Franziska (GER, world #43).

USATT Nominates Players for the 2018 World Team Cup in London
Here's the USATT article.

Stretch Your Opponents with Angled Shots
Here's the article from Tom Lodziak.

37 Coaching Articles by Matt Hetherington
Here's his coaching blog – time to dive into the archives!

Table Tennis is a Sport . . . Not Business
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

How to Protect Your Ranking If You Are Injured
Here's the article from EmRatThich.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

College Table Tennis Singles "is a thing" --SIGN UP TODAY
Here's the article from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.

Ask a Butterfly Pro Anything! Tiago Apolonia
Here's the interview.

Great Backhand
Here's the video (8 sec) of Kirill Gerassimenko of Kazakhstan counter-ripping a backhand.

LA Times/Washington Post Crossword
I was doing the crossword puzzle on Wednesday during lunch. The clue for 18 across was, "Math Teacher's favorite sport?" (In crossword parlance, a question mark after a question indicates it's a play on words.) After getting a few of the down questions, it gradually dawned on me what the answer was – "TimesTableTennis"! (The play on words is the start, "Times Table.") Here's the completed crossword. (Yes, I was able to solve the entire puzzle.)

Incredible Ping-Pong Ball Art
Here's the picture.

Lots of Weird Table Tennis Pictures!
Here's they are – you could spend an afternoon looking over these.

Mini-Tennis Pong?
Here's the cartoon!

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