Minnesota Player and Coach Duo Hope to Challenge the Best at 2014 Butterfly Badger Open

By Barbara Wei | Sept. 17, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Qi WeiMinnesota Player and Coach Duo Hope to Challenge the Best at 2014 Butterfly Badger Open

Finding top level practice partners is not an easy task for 12 year old Michael Minh Tran (2333) and his 19 year old coach Qi Wei (2496) from Rochester, MN. Michael’s level has rapidly risen in the past year. He entered the 2013 Badger Open with a rating of 2031, and will enter this year’s event with a rating of 2333. He is a member of the 2014 US National Mini-Cadet Boys Team (Top 4 U13) and recently claimed gold in the team and silver in the individual events at the 2014 ITTF World Hopes Challenge in Slovenia. Michael has long been a crowd and Midwest favorite, and has now made his name nationally and internationally. His rapid improvement is somewhat an anomaly in the Midwest, as most top level players and clubs are on the coasts.

Michael’s rapid improvement can at least be partially attributed to the hours of diligent training put in by his coach Qi Wei. Originally from Beijing, Qi Wei moved to California in 2011 to train Ariel Hsing, now 3x US National Champion, 2012 Olympic Team member and Princeton sophomore. However, having moved to Minnesota two years ago, Qi Wei’s main goal now is to help Michael improve and put table tennis on the map in the Midwest.

At this weekend’s 2014 Butterfly Badger Open, both Michael and Qi are hoping to take top honors in many of the high level events including Open Singles and Open Doubles. Michael is also top seed in the Under 14 Junior event, and second seed in the Under 18 Junior event.

Continual coverage of the 2014 Butterfly Badger Open and stories about the athletes will be available at butterflyonline.com, or via Butterfly North America’s twitter and facebook pages.