Table Tennis Dreams Made Possible by Family and Friends at 2015 Butterfly Aurora Cup

By Barbara Wei | Jan. 17, 2015, 5 p.m. (ET)

Table Tennis Dreams Made Possible by Family and Friends at 2015 Butterfly Aurora Cup

2015 Aurora CupAt competitions across the country it is typical to find parents, siblings and even grandparents in tow when junior players compete in major tournaments such as the US Open and US Nationals. Although there are fewer juniors competing at the 2015 Butterfly Aurora Open than those events, family and friend support remains a vital component to each and every participant at this weekend’s competition.

In the Open Singles Event, Samson Dubina (2463) and Emad Barsoum (2485), 6th and 7th seeds respectively, both have young families that travel together for tournaments. Samson has begun teaching his 4 and 2 year old daughters table tennis basics, and Emad is looking forward to introducing his two school age boys to the joys and complexities of the game.  Undoubtedly it is difficult to balance the needs of family, work and an exciting sport like table tennis, but these two young fathers have sustained a high level of play while maintaining loving and rewarding family and professional lives.

University friendships run deep for those players who are young and single. Cheng Li (2580) and Yi Ci Zhang (2549), the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the Open Singles Event, are inseparable as practice partners, coaches, doubles partners and friends. Both players are at Mississippi College, and have come to the US from China for an education and the American Dream. Similarly, the Lindenwood University players have all individually decided to come to the event though it is technically before the start of their school year. Brimming with youthful energy, the Lindenwood college team mates can be seen in their matching team jackets cheering each other on and honorably competing for themselves and their school.

Success in table tennis, like many other sports and activities, requires the support of a community of people who coach, support and commit their time to the players who ultimately compete on the courts. Butterfly recognizes and supports all of those who make table tennis dreams come true both at the 2015 Butterfly Aurora Open and beyond.

Continual coverage of the 2015 Butterfly Aurora Cup and stories about the athletes will be available at, or via Butterfly North America’s twitter and facebook pages.

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