Stuart Caplin

April 2, 2014

Oldest and Youngest Players in USATT

Mel Ketchel, age 91, is a regular at MDTTC. He comes in almost daily to play with others and with the robot, and regularly plays in our leagues. He asked me a few days ago if he entered the U.S. Open or Nationals, would USATT add an Over 90 event. I'd like to see it

It got me thinking - who are the oldest players in USATT? Technically Mel doesn't qualify, as he last played a tournament in 2002 and his membership expired in 2003. So I went to the USATT Ratings Page, and did some checking, using the Customizable Members Lists tool. This is what I found, where I searched only for USATT members who played in a tournament since January of 2013.

It has Madhu Vinod Diwakar of North Carolina, rated 1949, as being 114 years old!!! Now that's pretty good for your average supercentenarian, and it's recent, since he played a tournament in January. I'm guessing that somehow USATT has his age wrong.  (Actually, he's rated 1950, but because of confusion by some people over whether a 1950 player is eligible for an Under 1950 event, USATT automatically takes off and stores for later one point for anyone with a rating ending in 00 or 50. Meaning that in USATT ratings, 1950 is less than 1950!)

How about youngest member? According to the listings, we have two players under age one (!): Mohammed Khan of Tennessee, rated 1745, and Marijan Tomas of Vermont, rated 1356. That's going to be one impressive Under One Final at the U.S. Open when these two babies play! Okay, USATT probably has their birthdays wrong.

Table Tennis April Fools' Jokes

As most readers (but not all!) figured out, my posting yesterday on Tongue Training was an April Fools' joke. (If the subject wasn't enough to convince you, then read the first letter of each line in the first paragraph!) The posting was picked up and linked to in a number of places.

Maybe there is something to it. While you don't need to train your tongue (!), it is important to keep the muscle relaxed, including facial ones. Some players make faces every time they hit a shot, and while they get away with it, it might be a symptom of stress. More relaxed players don't usually make such faces. If you are the type who grimaces every time you take a shot, then perhaps you need to relax a bit more when you play.

I do such April Fools' jokes in my blog every year. Here are past ones in my blog:

  • April 1, 2011 - 13-year-old makes Chinese National Team - attacking with long pips on both sides.
  • April 2, 2012 - Wang Liqin is Coming to Maryland. And he's also a science fiction writer! And his son's a star! (April 1 fell on a Sunday, so I did this on Monday)
  • April 1, 2013 - 12-Year-Old Derek Nie Defeats Three 2600+ Players to Win Coconut Cup.

I did another April Fools' joke on one of our kids yesterday. We have an afterschool program at MDTTC, and every day, Mon-Fri, I leave my house at 2:30PM to pick up kids from local schools. We have it scheduled so I never have to pick up more than two at a time so I can get them to practice quickly. Yesterday one of the two came down sick so I only had to pick up one, a 10-year-old who's one of the best in the U.S. for his age, and one of the most dedicated. (He made me promise not to use his name.) When I picked him up he was expecting I'd pick up one other kid and then go to the club. Instead, I told him how lucky we were - two more kids were joining us, so we'd be picking three others, all from different schools. Normally we'd get to the club around 3:35PM or so, but I estimated we'd get there around 4:20PM. He went into a panic about how he was missing practice time, and was so frustrated he didn't notice that when I pulled out of his school, instead of turning right to pick up the next kid, I turned left and went directly to highway 270, which takes us to the club. It wasn't until we were on 270 for five minutes that he looked around, and suddenly said, "Where are we? This isn't the way to pick up the others!" Then he figured it out. The fact that it bothered him so much that he'd be late for practice says he's going to be a very good player someday.

There were other table tennis April Fools' Jokes yesterday. I linked to one yesterday from Table Tennis Nation, Table Tennis Named the Official Sport of the United States. Others I found during the day included JOOLA's Chop Blade, and Uberpong's Ping Pong Social Club Launch. (The latter is even talked about at BigCommerce.com.)

Sports Illustrated

The April 7 issue of Sports Illustrated comes out today. It should feature Crystal Wang in the "Faces in the Crowd" section. The online version will go up next Monday.

ITTF Voice of Table Tennis Contest

You can still enter. Deadline has been extended to April 8.

Fan Zhendong Is Now the Focus of the Main Players

Here's the article.

64-year-old Paralympian Overcomes Challenge After Challenge

Here's the article on Stuart Caplin, a member of the USA Paralympic Team, who has overcome polio and paralysis on the left side of his body.

Top Ten Shots from the ITTF World Tour German Open

Here's the video (5:10).

Lupi vs. Johnny

Here's a video (2:10) from 2004 showing Ilija Lupulesku vs. Johnny Huang. Lupulesku was top twenty in the world (and may have reached top ten - not sure), while Huang was top ten. Lupulesku plays a somewhat soft off-table topspin game, while Huang was the last of the great hitters - a shakehander with short pips on both sides.

The Outdoor Table Tennis Season Has Begun (in NYC)

Here's the video.

Cartoon Cats Playing Pong

Here's the gif image!

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