Youth Olympic Games in El Salvador

Jan. 25, 2010, 12 a.m. (ET)

Michael Landers (Old Westbury, N.Y.) and Ariel Hsing (San Jose, Calif.) return to action almost 45 days after they each turned in remarkable performances at the 2009 USA Table Tennis National Championships. They each claimed the U.S. Youth Olympic Games Team Trials title and reached the finals of the men's and women's singles. Now they are preparing to depart Jan. 31, for the first qualifying event for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

The table tennis tandem will compete Feb. 1-3 at the Pan American Classifying Tournament at the Sports Palace in San Salvador, El Salvador. The top three athletes in boy's and girl's divisions will earn the right to represent their respective country at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

Landers, who became the youngest athlete to ever win the men's singles USA Table Tennis National Championships, has been busy preparing and managing a host of media interviews on this feat. He hopes to qualify the United States boy's position at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. The 15-year-old athlete brings a two-winged looper attack technique to this event.

Hsing, who was the 2009 national championships runner-up in women's singles, dominated the girl's trials event and will bring her two-winged attack to El Salvador. Hsing is the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. National Team in 2009.

Lily Yip (Warren, N.J.) will accompany the duo to the Pan America's qualifying event. Yip is an elite-level coach for USA Table Tennis.

Based upon Team USA's performance at the qualifying tournament, the United States can qualify one boy and one girl to compete at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, Aug. 14-26. Table tennis will be one of 26 events contested at the inaugural multi-sport youth event. The international event will attract at least 5,000 athletes and officials from the 205 National Olympic Committees. The table tennis athletes will be between the ages of 15 and 16. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aims to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

Media Contact: Anthony Bartkowski, (719) 510-7331 or abartkowski@comcast.net

About USA Table Tennis: USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States. Created in 1933 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. Its staff serves the 9,000-plus members and nearly 300 clubs that are affiliated with USATT. It oversees a wide variety of membership services, the national teams, rules of the game and numerous online instructional and historical articles. USATT is governed and run by the nine-member board of directors, committees and professional staff. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the world governing body for table tennis, as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

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