Athletes of the Month - March

By Sean O'Neill | March 31, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)

Jiaqi Zheng 

Jiaqi Zheng (Milpitas, CA) earned the top spot on the 2015 US Pan Am Team with a spectacular comeback over 2012 US Olympian Lily Zhang (Palo Alto, CA) 10-12, 11-7, 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 22-20, 11-3 in Fort Worth, TX on March 6th at Texas Wesleyan University. Zheng was born in Zao Zhang, China and currently attends Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont, CA. Jiaqi won the 2012-2013 National College Table Tennis Association’s women’s Singles crown and also represents the ICC Table Tennis Center in Milpitas.
Jiaqi Zhang

Kanak Jha 

14 year old Kanak Jha (Milpitas, CA) continued his outstanding performance in 2015 with two additional accomplishments after taking February AOM honors for USATT. On March 6, Jha took first position at the 2015 US National and Pan Am Team Trials at Texas Wesleyan University by winning the initial knockout tournament over Han Xiao (Towson, MD) 4-3. As a newly placed member of the 2015 National Team, Jha and teammates Jimmy Butler (Houston, TX) and Timothy Wang (Houston, TX) flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 16 to compete in the 2015 Pan Am Qualifying tournament. Jha was undefeated in singles play throughout the event and led Team USA over Peru 3-1 to help the US qualify for the Toronto Games. Next up for Jha is representing the United States at the 2015 World Championships (Suzhou, China) at the end of April.

Kanak Jha

Andre Scott

2008 Paralympian Andre Scott (San Diego, CA) scored both a Silver and Bronze Medal at the Hungarian Open 2015 in Eger, Hungary on March 13-16th. In Class 5 men’s singles, Scott advanced to the knock-out round with wins over Van Grunsven (The Netherlands) and Olsson (Sweden) in straight games. Scott lost in the semi-finals to Kim Kyung Young (Korea) by a score of 11-6, 11-5, 11-8. In Team play with Bart Brans (Belguim), the mixed country duo beat teams from Sweden (3-0) and The Netherlands (3-0) before losing to Korea (0-3) to take the Silver Medal.

 Andre Scott

US Pan American Men's Team

Kanak Jha (Milpitas, CA), Jimmy Butler (Houston, TX), and Timothy Wang (Houston, TX) flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina ten days after qualifying for the 2015 US National Team to compete in the 2015 Pan Am Qualifying tournament. In the first stage of team play, USA beat both Ecuador and Panama 3-1. In the final qualifying round, 14 year old Jha won two singles matches to go along with a doubles victory of Butler and Wang to best Peru 3-1. The US men now join the US women who had pre-qualified for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto in July.

Kanak Jha     Jimmy Butler     Timothy Wang     Stefan Feth