The Vernon Table Tennis Group hosted 24 players from the Okanagan at their recent tournament held at Lakers Clubhouse. It was the first table tennis tournament held in Vernon in 15 years, and was supported by the Asian Avenue Restaurant with equipment and awards.
There were 15 Vernon players, seven from Kelowna and two from Salmon Arm. The competitive draw had 16 players in four pools of four. Vernon players did very well with Bryan Elitan, John Lu, and Min Kim all winning their pools. Dylan Woloshyniuk of Kelowna won the other pool.
In the two semifinals Woloshyniuk defeated Elitan 3-0 to advance to the final, while Muhammad Asim of Vernon defeated Brad Atkins of Vernon 3-0.
Asim then won the tournament defeating Woloshyniuk in a hard-fought final (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8).
Atkins took the third place match over Elitan (11-2, 2-11, 4-11, 11-9, 12-10). Lu defeated Stephen Serrano of Kelowna 11-9, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 to take fifth place.
On the consolation side, Jarvis Wice of Salmon Arm defeated Steven Lahay of Kelowna 11-9, 11-8, 11-5.
In the recreation draw, there were five Vernon players and three from Kelowna. In the semifinals, Peter Wessel of Kelowna defeated Jeff Naka of Vernon 11-8, 11-2, while Paul Lo of Kelowna beat Jerry Lee of Vernon 12-10, 12-10.
Lo won the final over Wessel 7-11, 11-7, 11-8. Lee defeated Naka 8-11, 12-10, 12-10 to take third place. Mikey Arce of Vernon defeated Louise Delaney of Vernon to take the consolation side.
John Neilson organized the event and Ed Schum travelled in from Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, to run the tournament and conduct a players clinic. Schum is a former Vernon resident who helped to install some of Silver Star’s first ski lifts.
“Ed also makes amazing custom table tennis racquets that are becoming popular in Canada and internationally,” said Neilson. “Ed said that there is a lot of potential for the players and the sport to grow in Vernon. He also would like to see the tournament expand to accommodate more players as there was a waiting list to play.”
Schum hosted his own tournament in February, the sixth annual Waverley Table Tennis Championship in Cumberland, featuring three Vernon players among the 32 players from 14 communities.
Kim qualified for the Championship Singles but lost his elimination match to Mingh Ly from Nanaimo. Elitan and Neilson finished third in their pool play and went to the recreational side, where Elitan won the gold medal against Han Bae from Comox. Elitan had an exceptional tournament and almost defeated last year’s championship finalist, Eric Tran from Nanaimo, losing 12-10 in the fifth and deciding game. Elitan learned his table tennis in the Philippines and Kim learned in South Korea.
Kim teamed up with Elitan in the 12-team doubles competition where they went undefeated (4-0) before losing to Tran and his daughter Vy in the semifinal.
Neilson teamed up with Victor Wu of Nanaimo and they also went undefeated (4-0) before losing to the eventual champions, brothers Arshia and Parham Alamain from Duncan.
The Vernon Table Tennis group stays busy playing on Tuesdays 6:30 p.m. at Lakers Clubhouse (7000 Cummins Road) for competitive players and on Thursdays 6:30 p.m. at Halina Centre in the Vernon Recreation Complex for recreational players.
For more local table tennis information, Neilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-550-0425.