USA Table Tennis
1985: March through pre-U.S. Open June Tournaments; Eric Boggan and Sheila O’Dougherty Win Eastern’s; Joe Ng and Mariann Domonkos are North American and Canadian National Champions).
An historic first: after the March coverage of U.S. tournaments reported in SPIN, there was—with the exception of a rather brief account by me, Tim, of U.S./Canadian play at the Lake Placid North American Championships—not a single U.S. tournament held during all of April and May that was covered in SPIN, not a write-up of it, or even the bare results. Regardless of significant U.S. play at the World’s (Mar. 28-Apr. 7), such omissions are unacceptable. As I research here Chapter Five, I discover this absence of tournament coverage with surprise, and am further surprised to see in the May-June, 1985 SPIN, in that issue alone, that the editor had, in addition to the story coverage of the World’s, amassed 80 photos—and thus, having filled up a super-issue (36 pages), he had no room for local coverage. Though Editor Wintrich “regrets the omissions and trusts faithful contributors understand this unique situation,” surely some criticism has to be leveled at Tom and at an apparently unaware President Boggan for the imbalance.
But let’s deal with what we have, not with what we don’t have. As usual, I start with tournaments in the West and move East.
Results of the Tri-Cities Winter Open, played Apr. 20th in Kennewick, WA: Open Singles: Quang Bui over Jay Crystal, 10, 12, 18. Open Doubles: Crystal/Bob Mandel over Bui/Dave Talcott, 18, 19, -19, -13, 15. U-2000’s: Talcott over Danya Budiman, 10, 12. U-1850’s: Talcott over Hung Pham, 19, 16. U-3600 Doubles: Fredrickson/Liana Panesko over Pham/Chuck Dethloff, 14, 13. U-1700’s: Jeff Frahler over ? U-1550’s: Pierre Gigounon over Hector Joy, 14, -14, 20, then over Frahler, 18, ? U-3000 Doubles: S. Pham/Duc Vo over Griffith/Dan Fendall, 15, -17, 18. U-1400’s: Richard Nootenboom over Mohammed Akif, -18, 18, 19. U-1250’s: Vo over Robert Melton, 12, 15, after Robert had stopped Nootenboom, 16, -15, 21. U-2400 Doubles: S. Johnson/Fendall over Goodwin/Akif, 15, 19. U-950’s: Joseph Panesko over Marc Glestrom, 18, -11, 13. Senior’s: Robert Ho over Harold Fredrickson, 14, 17. College/Junior: John Fredrickson over Budiman, 20, 16.
Winners at the California State Open, held Mar. 9-10 at Sacramento’s Table Tennis World: Open Singles: Duc Luu, 13, 14, 20, over De Tran who’d knocked out Dave Chun, 16, -18, 20, 17. U-2150’s: De over James Therriault, -19, 9, 11, after James had survived Chun, 18, -13, 19. U-2000’s: Behzad over David Chu, 16, -17, 15, 15. U-1850’s: Zak Haleem over James Ritz, 22, 15, 6. U-1700’s: Eric Hamilton over Bob Schanilec, 16, 17, 14. U-3250 Doubles: Hamilton/Mohammed Akif over Warren Baxter/Anthony Streutker. U-1550’s: Akif over Robbie Sorenson, 16, 22, 19. U-1400’s: Akif, 22, 14, 19, over Andy Heroux who’d defeated Leroy Yoder, -19, 13, 19. U-1250’s: James Stewart, 16, -15, 15, 17, over Ngo Viet, after Ngo had downed Heroux, 19 in the 3rd. U-2250 Doubles: Don Streutker/Carl Ports over Akif/George Akahori. U-1100’s: Streutker over C. Ports, -23, 12, 7. U-950’s: Akahori over Lan Nguyen, 25-23 in the 4th. Point-Adjusted Singles: Akif over Baxter. Over 60’s: Leo Egel over Lloyd Henning. Over 40’s: Tom Miller over Haleem. Boys U-17: Jim Goodwin over Anthony Streutker. Boys U-13: Lefty looper Jeff Feri over Robbie Sorenson. Girls U-13: Nicole Ports over Sunny Low, Jr. A’s: Dain Micheletti over N. Ports. Jr. B’s: Steve Madsen over Low.
Results of Rich’s Workshop Closed, held Mar. 1-3 in Burbank, CA under the direction of Rich Livingston: U-1950’s: John Schneider over Lynwood Smith. U-1850’s: Arnold Lloyd over Y.C. Lee, 11, 16. U-3600 Doubles: Schneider/Livingston over Harold Kopper/Jon Wallace. U-1750’s: Guenter Pauly over Kopper. U-3400 Doubles: Lloyd/Wallace over Ngo Chi/Duc Nguyen. U-1650’s: Pauly over Kei Ariyasu. U-1550’s: Jim McKinstry over Wallace. U-1450’s: Heinz Kittel over Joe Kozlowski. Unrated: George Godor over Jeff Stevens. Senior’s: Lloyd over Ariyasu.
Jeff Mason (SPIN, July-Aug., 1985, 25) reports that “Table Tennis World was honored to have 1971 World Champion Stellan Bengtsson of Sweden conduct a four-day clinic, as well as perform an exhibition with local players, at our facility.
Bengtsson was assisted by Angie (Rosal) Bengtsson, and myself. I was very impressed with Stellan’s knowledge and coaching ability, as were the participants themselves. I was able to work well with the husband/wife team, especially since we all follow the same school of thought handed down from former World Champion Ichiro Ogimura of Japan.
I was particularly impressed with the way Stellan explained the basic principles in a clear and interesting manner. The players enjoyed witnessing him demonstrate footwork drills, which he does with amazing speed and grace. Stellan and Angie were both very concerned with helping each player in the clinic, whether he/she was advanced or more at the beginning level.
Besides being impressed with his extensive knowledge, I was also struck by his world-class attitude. He is truly a model of how to combine international-caliber play with excellent sportsmanship. He has always demonstrated this in his competitive career, and showed the same characteristics while coaching in Sacramento.
The 200 spectators who attended the exhibition were thrilled with his play, especially during his fun match with Mike Grooms who was in costume as ‘The Dark Invader.’ Local television and newspaper reporters were present to cover the event.
Table Tennis World would like to thank Stellan, Angie, and the Stiga Company for making this event possible. We look forward to another Stellan Bengtsson Clinic in 1986.
Rick Hardy (SPIN, July-Aug., 1985, 17) reports on the June 22-23 Cleveland, Ohio Open:
“Since this was a warm-up tournament for the about to be held U.S. Open, interest was sparked by players not often seen in America. Angby Sports Club Swedes, Mikael Frank and Lars Mattsson, plus Defending Champion, Canada’s Zoran Kosanovic, were the top three seeds, while several well-known Americans made their Cleveland debuts.
Fourth-seed Brandon Olson, shaking off an earlier loss to 1948-rated John Elwood in the AAA event, joined the other three seeds in the Open’s semifinal round robin. Kosanovic and Frank disposed of Mattsson and Olson to set up the final. Each of the previous four years, a lefthander had been seeded first and gone on to win the tournament. Although lefty Kosanovic won the first game, Frank took control of the match, winning the next three games and the title.
In other results, Kim Farrow won the Women’s, smashing through Joyce Jenkins three straight. Avishy Schmidt made his trip from the West worthwhile by winning the U-2200’s and U-2100’s while recording several upsets along the way.
Thanks to all our supporters. Hope to see you next year.”
What Tournament Director Lori Berenson and Tournament Referee Hardy would have liked to have seen this year is made plain in their Letter to the Editor (SPIN, July-Aug., 1985, 4):
“For the past five years, the Cleveland Open has been one of the nation’s better tournaments. We feel that one of the reasons for our success has been that we try to give the players, especially the top players, as many considerations as our finances allow. We believe that by helping the top players we help the game as a whole. We have been very amenable to giving top players free entry, hotel rooms, and/or hospitality in our homes, and expense money, if at all possible.
For this year’s tournament, we received entries for Eric and Scott Boggan, Rey Domingo, Gustavo Ulloa, and George Brathwaite. All were placed in the draw. The Boggans were given free entry and permission to come late as they were taping a [Saturday Bill Boggs TV] show in New York.
Saturday morning we received a phone call from Eric informing us that he and Scott were not coming. In the interest of fairness, we did the draws over. Several hours later, as the time for Open Singles neared, it was apparent that Domingo, Ulloa, and Brathwaite were not going to come either. (We had talked with Brathwaite only the day before!) We were forced to redo the draw again. In addition to the open draw, the AAA and Senior’s draw were affected by these no shows. These five players created unnecessary disruptions to the players present and to the staff.
After having taken flak from our fellow club members for spending our club’s money to help top players, we find the actions outlined above deplorable. If the top players, including our U.S. #1, want respect for themselves (and for table tennis), they must show that they deserve it. We hope that the above named players will reflect on their behavior so that this will not happen again.”
After the $3,000 Lake Ontario Open, held Mar. 22-23 at Brockport’s NY State University, was advertised in SPIN, there was no report, no results, of it having been played, though Rating Chair Dan Simon indicated he’d received and processed the results. Didn’t anyone (especially tournament-contact man Bob Brickell or SPIN editor Tom Wintrich) care to explain what happened?
The Butterfly Eastern Open, held Mar. 8-10 in Pittsburgh—with its “$1,400 in cash and other prizes of sporting goods, watches, and clock and portable Walkman-type radios”—was also advertised. But at this tournament we did find out what happened because I was there to write it up (SPIN, Apr., 1985, 24-25).
“Danny and Eric head to head. Who’ll be #1 after Sunday?” So it read (where else?) in the Pittsburgh Press with hyped home-town Danny’s photo showing him as ready as ever, as intense as ever (for hadn’t he just won AGAIN the Western Japan Open).
But three days of Seemiller-drawn, Seemiller-announced, Seemiller-run matches drained away some essential brotherly-shared strength—and in the March 10th final of this year’s 15-table, 150-entry, Martin-Kilpatrick/Vynex-sponsored Eastern Open it was Eric over Perry Schwartzberg who, playing with extraordinary poise and power in the semi’s, had hard-rubberized Danny’s distracted head.
Meanwhile, no headlines for the women—though Sheila O’Dougherty, our USOC Athletes Advisory Council rep, scored a 3-1 victory over fellow Minnesotan Ardith Lonnon. How much both of them want to play: last month Sheila suffered a 26-hour drive to the Louisiana Open, and now Ardith (did Sheila come with her?) just endured a 15-hour drive to get to Pittsburgh. Ardith always seems to practice as intensely as she plays: “She forces you all the time,” says Sheila. “But I took her seriously right from the start. I went out there and fought and most of the time I got in the first shot.”
Cheerfully hoisting high, if not her glasses, an off-court glass or two, Sheila, pleasantly relaxed, proclaimed her shoulder perfectly healed. So when Ardith quickly spun it out that, instead of going to the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology to study Engineering, she might consider enrolling in the USOC Resident Training Program at Colorado Springs, Sheila was ready to counter. She said that, though she liked her managerial job at a Denver Optometric Center (“I’m blinder than 90% of the people who go through there”), she might soon apply for her Masters in Hospital Administration at the University of Minnesota.
Ardith’s brother Gene (someone said he was looking stronger physically) had good wins in three events (thanks in part to Ardith’s coaching?)—over U.S. Maccabiah hopeful Simon Shtofmahker (runner-up to too forehand-strong Ben Nisbet in the 2250’s), over Steve Lowry in the 2150’s, and over Dan Walk in the U-21’s. Gene agreed that, despite his loss to Seemiller here (shhh…that’s TIMMY Seemiller), being named to the U.S. Junior Team (come May he’d be playing in Sweden and Norway) gave him greater incentive to project a much-desired image of himself as a Player.
Which is one of the reasons why he didn’t play in the Juniors here? Both the 17’s and the 15’s were won by 14-year-old John Elwood over Clark Yeh, 19 in the third.
Nay, Yeh: what in the hell were you smiling at when you came off the table after losing that last match to John? Because having turned just 11, you’d done far better…well, better… than you thought you would?
Turns out that National Coach Henan Li Ai has been in Indianapolis for a couple of weeks (Did you see her on Channel 13 News?) working intensely with the promising young players—Elwood (shakehands), Yeh (penholder), and others from both Joe Shumaker’s Indianapolis Training Center and Dan Hopper’s Lebanon, Indiana Club. They’ve an eye trained on the White River Park Games which, it’s estimated, will draw 1,000 [sic] table tennis players.
In the Aged P divisions, among those parents who actually played, Bill Sharpe, though he literally nodded off in our Sunday round robin, was just too wake-up good when it counted. The best match in the 40’s/50’s, however, was between Selection Committee Chair Bill Walk and me. After leading 19-14 in the third in the Esquire’s, I was an earlier Senior’s match and three ad points down before waking up myself to win.
And bless this 50-50 triumphant match with Bill, for it allows me now to Walk back, as it were, to the Men’s, since both Bill and Men’s finalist Perry Schwartzberg use the same type rubber—hard rubber—on their backhand which, damn, in both those split matches with Bill I’d kept blocking the ball off the table.
This rubber, thought by Pittsburgh partisans something of a miracle-winner for Perry, conqueror of Danny (one of whose fans had either made or pirated an encouraging bleacher sign), hasn’t the usual linen backing, like, say, an old Hock, but, go ahead, peel it back, is just hard rubber. And round the racket, to make it heavier, Perry wraps strips of lead tape, giving the bat a higher center of balance so that, as Perry says, the top of the racket “falls into the ball.”
In the quarter’s, Perry, it was thought, would face an uphill battle with first-seed lobber Rey Domingo. But Perry’s backhand pips can suddenly change the pace of play, drop, stop the ball, and Rey couldn’t hold a 20-18 lead in the fourth to play on. After the match had ballooned away, Rey had a little frown of explanation. “I got up at three o’clock to catch a plane at Newark and arrived here with a headache. I don’t know why, but the ball kept going off the edge of my racket.” Maybe he should have used some of Perry’s tape? “Anyway, I always prepare for losing,” said Rey with his 37-year-old smile.
In another quarter’s match, 18-year-old Brandon Olson downed Ricky Seemiller—maneuvered him away from the table, looped the ball wider and wider, and out-countered him.
In the remaining two quarter’s, Eric and Danny advanced easily.
One semi’s saw Brandon start strong against Eric—pointedly threaten der U.S. boy like some experienced duel-scarred Bundesliger. But then it was Eric’s turn to be the aggressor and Olson had no defense. In the other semi’s, Danny, who’s had trouble with his sometime roommate Schwartzberg before, found himself 14-10 down in the fifth. At 14-11 he yelled, “Hang in!” And of course hang in is what he’s so often done in the past and will do again and again in the future. But now he immediately mis-served, and Perry, playing smoothly, aggressively, out-positioning Danny, ran the score to 20-14 his favor. “GREAT!” said Danny self-mockingly to himself and his supporters. “JUST GREAT!” Whereupon Perry served and Danny pushed off.
The $400 first-prize final between Eric and Perry was anticlimactic…at least until Perry, down 2-0 and 9-4 in the third, unexpectedly rallied to win 13 of the next 16 points, his pip picks or smashes stopping Eric’s momentum and forcing the match into the fourth. Up 13-8 but down on one knee after a long victorious point, Eric looked for a moment like he didn’t want to get up. And, sure enough, he rose, slowly, slowly, to 13-12…then, as if with a sigh, again picked up his world-class tempo, scored six in a row to break open the match.
As Eric was hurrying out the door to catch his flight, Perry himself had not finished play. Having beaten 2300 John Allen, who’s now on a Midwest tour of schools with Randy Seemiller, Perry was in another final—the 2400’s.
His opponent was that same Randy, whose day-in, day-out exhibition play was giving him not a touch of madness but a consistency that—helped by an incredible match-point-down counter from the barriers—enabled him to beat Brandon Olson in the semi’s.
In the final—the final of the 2400’s—there were left only the Seemillers, their friends and relatives…watching…as Randy, despite a 19-17 lead in the first, lost to brother Danny’s roommate Perry.
Still, a few beers were passed around…for if the tournament was not as dramatic, not as exciting, not as fresh as some Eastern Opens of old, it was again something of a financial success for a family that, like the sport itself, has always found and always will find ways of surviving.
Results of the Fred Fuhrman Memorial Open, played Mar. 2-3 in Miami: Open Singles (two native-born Jamaicans in the final): David Marchalleck (from down 2-0) over Ernest Virgo, -17, -15, 13, 14, 22. Women’s: Olga Soltesz over Naciye Hacikadiroglu, 13, 16, 18. Open Doubles: Virgo/Jamaica’s Keith Duncan over the Jamaican pair of Colin McNeish/Andrew Sturridge, 14, -19, 17, 8. Senior’s: Bard Brenner over Edwin Oliver, 18, 18. College Men: Duncan over Robert McKesey, -22, 17, 17. College Women: Hacikadiroglu over Carla Belnavis, 13, 11. High School Boys: Andy Rheingold over Randy Cohen, 19, -17, 22. Grade School Boys: Cohen over Rheingold, -16, 18, 20.
A’s: McKesey over Scott Beauregard, 16, 18. B’s: Oliver over Sohrab Zarrabian, 18, 10. C’s: Colin Steele over Peter Matthews, 17, -12, 14. D’s: Larry Beal over Rick Kadin, 19, 13. E’s: Morris Wong over Jack Cohen, 15, 7. Novice Women: Lori Milch over Margaret Ping, 11, 11. Novice Men: Jay Freireich over Francis Delaney, 12, 14 (the same Fran Delaney, formerly from Bridgeport, CT, who 36 years earlier was ranked U.S. #21?).
Yvonne Kronlage gives us an end-of-season report (SPIN, July-Aug., 1985, 12) on her Howard County Circuit’s top 12 finishers: “Barney Reed of Enola, PA won the $1,000 grand prize with 123 points. Reed, who didn’t miss any of the ten tournaments, will use the cash for a trip to the Miami U.S. Open for his wife Kathy and himself. ‘It was a struggle all the way,’ said Barney, ‘as a couple of tournaments I didn’t get any points.’
Tom Steen fought to the last day to finish second by winning the doubles (the last event of the Circuit) and so the $500 award. Steen edged Barry Dattel who had held on to second the last couple of tournaments. Barry went home with a color TV but was disappointed at losing the cash award. Peter March came in fourth and was very pleased with his color TV. Shibaji Chakraborty took fifth and a microwave oven. Clocks were presented to the following seven players: Don Garlinger, Steve Emmons, Humilde Prudencio, Jr., Roy Emmons, Yvonne Kronlage, Keith Minnich, and Dao Nguyen.
There were over 200 players participating in this year’s Circuit and next season we’re shooting for 300. We have decided to hold two Mini-Circuits consisting of five tournaments each. This will enable more players to have a chance to win prizes and will give them the opportunity to concentrate on just five tourneys at a time instead of ten. Total prize money awarded for the 1984-85 Circuit was $7,556.70.”
Winners at the Colin Mallows Open, held Mar. 16-17 at the Westfield, NJ Club under the direction of George Hellerman: Open Singles: George Brathwaite over Steven Mok, 13, -17, 11, 15. Semi’s: Brathwaite over the Dominican Republic’s Raymundo Fermin, 12, -11, 19, 19; Mok over Rey Domingo, 19, 20, -8, 17. Open Doubles: Lim Ming Chui/George Cameron over Brathwaite/Fermin, -12, 15, 13. Esquire’s: Ralph Vescera over Bob Barns, 19, 18. Senior’s: Brathwaite over Bill Sharpe, -17, 9, 15. U-17’s: Bud Caughman over Damir Kadija, 19 in the 3rd, then over Rajiv Dosi, 11, 16. U-13’s: Don Ma over Allen Ma, 18, 8. U-11’s: A. Ma over Saku Hyttinen, 5, 9.
U-2200’s: Michael Henry, 18, 14, -22, 19, over Bob Holland who’d eliminated John Andrade, -15, 19, 20. 2050’s: Chi-Sun Chui over Vicki Wong, 16, -20, -12, 19, 18. U-1950’s: Mark Kane over Bruce Hvasta, -10, 16, 17. U-1850’s: Bud Caughman over Brian McKnight, 17, 18. U-1850 Doubles: George Holz/Kane over Sam Huang/Tony Gegelys. U-1750’s: Holz over Huang, 17, -17, 16. U-1600’s: Joan Fu over Craig Sental, -22, 10, 11. U-1600 Doubles: Ken Pecota/Fu over Mike Inger/Dave Schultz, 17, -20, 10. U-1450’s: Colin Mallows, 11, 16, over Dennis Spellman who’d escaped Schultz, 22, -16, 20. U-1300’s: Vladimir Lojko over George Chranewycz, -20, 21, 19, then over Arvo Hyttinen, def. U-1150’s: Nick Rezai over Mark Anderson, 16, 9. U-1000’s: Rezai over Kadija, 16, 20. Unrated: M. Billek, 13, 18, over A. Rabinovich who’d outlasted A. Lear, -17, 24, 19.
Chris Kalagher (SPIN, July-Aug., 1985, 12) gives us the results of the June 8-9 New England Closed: “John Allen of South Boston defeated Lim Ming Chui of Bedford, MA in four games to win the Men’s Closed title. Women’s Singles went to Marta Zurowski of Dudley, MA over Sym Gallucci. Chui came back to win both the Doubles—the Championship (with son Chi-Sun) and the Mixed (with Gallucci).. Chi-Sun shared the Junior title with brother Chi-Ming [they didn’t play the final?]. Among the other big winners were Rhode Island’s Haig Raky over Frank Dwelly in the Senior’s and Chris Costley in Novice Singles. The tournament, a tremendous success, was sponsored by the Fitchburg, MA Table Tennis Club and attracted 102 players from the six-state region.”
The $500 winner of the select 27-entry Men’s event in the $5,000 North American Championships, played May 4-5 at Lake Placid, NY, was Joe Ng of Toronto, who thus became the North American Qualifier for the World Cup that will be played this summer in Foshan, China.
The $500 winner of the select 16-entry Women’s event was many-time Canadian Champion Mariann Domonkos of Chateauguay, Quebec. Unfortunately for Mariann, there’s no World Cup for women.
Canadian players also took runner-up positions. Second in the Men’s was 1984 Canadian Champ Horatio Pintea of Ottawa; while in the Women’s it was Cindy Choy of Vancouver.
Those who didn’t qualify for one of the eight money-winning quarter’s spots played a Sunday satellite tournament. The Men’s winner in this event was Canada’s Eddie Lo ($100) over the U.S.’s Brandon Olson ($50). The Women’s went to Cheryl Dadian of the U.S. ($50) over Becky McKnight of Canada ($25).
The Men’s matches among the qualifiers were down-to-the wire close.
In their last match, Danny Seemiller, with losses to Ng and Alain Bourbonnais, had to beat 22-year-old Romanian expatriate Pintea two straight to give himself any chance to win—but, ohh, he lost the first at deuce. However, he kept himself alive for second place by taking the next two games from “Hory” who in practice earlier had the cap on a tooth knocked off and broken.
And Scott Boggan helped not only himself but Danny by downing Alain in their last match worth an extra $200 to Scott. This loss was an absolute catastrophe for Alain, since had he gone on to win either the second or third game from Scott he would have, as it turned out, finished in a four-way tie for first and with a 5-2 (5-3) record would have won the tournament. As it was, one game away from winning $500 and the trip to the Cup and, say, another $1,000 appearance prize money, he tumbled all the way to fifth.
The last match of the tournament—Ng vs. Pintea—affected the final four positions. (1) If Pintea (2 losses) were to beat Ng (1 loss) two straight, there would be a three-way tie for first with Horatio winning over Ng and Danny coming third. (2) However, if Ng won just a game from Pintea he would be the winner with Hory second and Danny third. (3) If Ng won the match, Danny would come second, Scott third, and Hory fourth.
As it happened, after Ng won the first game from Pintea, he was already the winner of the tournament. The back-up player to the World Cup, though—would he be U.S. or Canadian?
CTTA Director-General Adham Sharara told his already crowned Champion not to dump the last two games to Horatio, his teammate at the 1985 World Championships—but Hory won anyway, 19 in the third. So the back-up was another Canadian.
Had this not been the NAC but the NA Tryouts for the ’88 Olympics, as the rules now stand, no U.S. player, not one man or woman, would be going to the Seoul Olympics.
Order of Finish: Men: 1. Joe Ng, 5-2 ($500). 2. Horatio Pintea, 5-2 ($500). 3. Danny Seemiller, 5-2 ($400). 4. Scott Boggan, 4-3 ($400). 5. Alain Bourbonnais, 4-3 ($200). 6. Bao Nguyen, 3-4 ($200). 7. Perry Schwartzberg, 2-5 ($200). 8. Brian Masters, 0-7 ($200). Women: 1. Mariann Domonkos ($500). 2. Cindy Choy ($300). 3. Gloria Hsu ($200). 4. Thanh Mach ($200).
I want to say in closing that this North American article you’ve just read was NOT responsibly proofed in SPIN by Editor Wintrich, which irritated me. I also want to add here the following May 11th letter I wrote to George Kalber, Director of the Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid:
I want to thank—our Association wants to thank—you, George, your wife, Marty, and all those connected with the Center who were such a help in every comforting way to us in our running of the recent North American Championships.
I’m well aware that there were coordination problems in this our initial tournament that neither Tournament Operations Director Dennis Masters nor I want to have happen again. Rather at the last minute we found out that the ferry from Burlington was NOT operating, as we thought it would be, and so three of our players had inconveniently to be picked up (crazily, the driver lost his way) and after the tournament transported back. Also, because so many of our players from different sections of the East and Northeast drove and arrived in Lake Placid at different times Friday evening and even early Saturday morning, it was difficult for us to get a count on who needed the van and who was driving or hitching a ride with whom.
Naturally we’re most apologetic about not coming back for lunch on Sunday. As it turned out, the tournament was progressing to its climax much faster than we’d anticipated and neither the Canadian players nor our players wanted to interrupt the heated semifinals/final flow of play to return. It didn’t register with us we were really thoughtlessly out of line.
Please believe me that, after talking with Marty, Dennis and I understand much better what’s expected of us, and that we appreciate your kindness and courtesy. Aside from these problems, it may please you to know that our first tournament venture was a great success with the Canadians and did much to increase the goodwill between our two Associations.
Regarding the 150-entry Canadian Closed, played May 17-20 in the Tait McKenzie building at York University in Toronto, I’m going to give you the results of the events, then follow with excerpts from articles in the Toronto Star by Christopher Young, Lance Hornby, and James Davidson that were reprinted in the OTTA Update, Spring, 1985.
Men’s: Final: Joe Ng over Alain Bourbonnais, 14, 9, 7. Semi’s: Ng over Horatio Pintea, 20, 19, 16; Bourbonnais over Zoran Kosanovic, 18, 19, -14, -19, 15. Quarter’s: Ng over Eddie Lo, 12, 19, 18; Pintea over David Mahabir, 19, 18, 15; Bourbonnais over Bert Flisberg, 18, -12, 18, 13; Kosanovic over Bao Nguyen, 8, 8, -13, 9.
Women’s Final: Mariann Domonkos over Thanh Mach, -19, 17, 19, -18, 10. Semi’s: Domonkos over Gloria Hsu, 16, -17, 18, 21; Mach over Cindy Choy, 14, 11, 15. Quarter’s: Domonkos over Becky McKnight, 11, 10, 21; Hsu over Helen Simerl, -12, 20, -15, 14, 16; Mach over Sylvie Leveille, 14, 11, 15; Choy over Julia Johnson, 15, 17, 19. Hsu, you’ll note, gave a good account of herself, especially since she’s preoccupied with two jobs. Reportedly she’s an animator at Atkinson Films in Ottawa, and also “under Coach Guoxi Su at the National Training Centre at Carleton University she works out five or six times a week, 2 and ½ hours a day.”
Men’s Doubles: Final: Paul Judd/Eddie Lo over Greg Chao/Richard Chin, 15, 7. Semi’s: Judd/Lo over Bao Nguyen/Horatio Pintea, 17, -13, 21; Chao/Chin over Bourbonnais/Mitch Rothfleisch, -14, 12, 19.
Women’s Doubles: Gloria Hsu/Thanh Mach over Julia Johnson/Becky McKnight, 17, -11, 18. Semi’s: Hsu/Mach over Cindy Choy/Fong Seow, 13, 11; Johnson/McKnight over Mariann Domonkos/Helene Bedard, 11, 15.
Mixed Doubles: Final: Mariann Domonkos/Horatio Pintea [their third National Mixed in a row] over Diane Bourdages/Bao Nguyen, 10, 12. Semi’s: Domonkos/Pintea over Cindy Choy/John Mah, 14, 6; Bourdages/Nguyen over Becky McKnight/David Mahabir, 15, 14.
Senior Men: Final: Bill Cheng over Ron Bickerstaffe, 19, 10, 12, after Ron had advanced by Alan Cornish, 10, 10, -19, 20.
Senior Women: Final: Marie Kerr over Valentina Subathikas, 12, 13.
Men’s U-2000: Final: Charles Woo, 10, 15, over Andrew Giblon who’d earlier advanced by Danny Ho, 21, 21.
Women’s U-1600: Debbie Poh over Kathy Wells, 15, 13.
Toronto’s Joe Ng, 21, and a University of Toronto student, won his first Canadian National Men’s Championship by easily defeating in the final Quebec’s Alain Bourbonnais who in the semi’s had scored an exciting five-game upset of former Champion Zoran Kosanovic. Ng, reporter Hornby said, “had atrocious luck in this tournament” [how about giving us at least one example?], but obviously he wasn’t the worse for the experience. “A major component of the CTTA’s three-year plan leading to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Ng leaves for Canton, China in August to play in the World Cup.” As for Boubonnais’ success, Hornby quotes CTTA Technical Director Adham Sharara as saying, “What Alain did [in beating Kosanovic] was the fruit of the six-year plan we’ve just completed. We had him playing in strong tournaments when he was 15 and 16 and now at 22 he can beat players of international caliber.”
Christopher Young tells us that “While the thunder rolled and roared around York University’s Tait McKenzie building, Mariann Domonkos and Thanh Mach got into a rumble of their own—a wild five-game set. For Domonkos, it was her ninth National Singles title in a row, leaving her one short of Violetta Nesukaitis’s record of 10 Championships (1965-75).
Domonkos says she has little memory of coming to the U.S. from Hungary as a seven-year-old with her parents. Now, at 27, she’s definitely an elder at the game and her domination has led some officials to privately voice hopes that she’d just slow down a step and let some of the youngsters on the national circuit, like Mach, get a chance at the big prize.” [Well, since Mach went into the fifth with Mariann, you’d have to say she just had that chance.]
By 1988 and the Seoul Olympics, Mariann realizes she’ll be 30. But who knows how she’ll be playing then. Right now, she says, “I’ve gotten a new table tennis life—I haven’t lost this year yet.” The Domonkos-Mach match lasted 64 minutes, a match-up of savvy and speed featuring 70-mph rallies and numerous lead changes. Savvy won out. ‘It was enjoyable out there,’ said the Chateuguay native. ‘A lot of quick exchanges, lots of attacking. You could just let loose.’”
As of now, Mariann’s “going back to school to study industrial design. Table tennis training is tough. You begin to take the sport too seriously. I have to have other things going so I can stay sharp. But I’d like to stick around to the Olympics.”
Young points out that Bourbonnais had beaten Ng on Friday night in the Team play. Provincial teams vie for the Marg Walden trophy that’s “awarded at the National Championship for best overall performance. This year, given Ng’s National Championship win over Bourbonnais, Ontario just nosed out Quebec, 453 to 451 points. Young thought Bourbonnais his own worst enemy in his Closed final with Ng, “pouting after missed points and obviously losing concentration.” Said Joe in acknowledgement, “Sometimes Alain has a tendency to do that. He gets mad at himself….”