2018 World Veteran Championships in Las Vegas

By Larry Hodges | Oct. 10, 2017, 3:07 p.m. (ET)

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – or at least once every 27 years, the last time the U.S. held a World Veterans Table Tennis Championship, back in 1990. The 2018 World Veterans Championships will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 18-24, and if you are over the age of 40 (as of Dec. 31, 2018), you need to be there.

You can visit the official 2018 WVC Website

Let’s start with the basics – the events. There are eleven age categories, with singles and doubles in each.

  • 40 - 44 years (Born 1978 or before)

  • 45 - 49 years (Born 1973 or before)

  • 50 - 54 years (Born 1968 or before)

  • 55 - 59 years (Born 1963 or before)

  • 60 - 64 years (Born 1958 or before)

  • 65 - 69 years (Born 1953 or before)

  • 70 - 74 years (Born 1948 or before) 

  • 75 - 79 years (Born 1943 or before) 

  • 80 - 84 years (Born 1938 or before) 

  • 85 - 89 years (Born 1933 or before) 

  • Over 90 years (Born 1928 or before)

All events, both singles and doubles, will have preliminary groups of four, with two advancing to the championship draw and the other two to the consolation draw. If you enter both singles and doubles, you should play eight matches.

You are probably asking yourself, “I haven’t got a chance! The best players in the world will be there!” Well, it’s true – the best players will be there, and most players are not going to become World Champion. But that’s not the reason you go to the World Veterans Championships (unless you are one of the best of your age in the world) – you go there to compete, meet other players (including the best in the world), have fun, spectate, shop, and enjoy the Las Vegas vacationland. It’ll be a full week of table tennis paradise, where you hobnob with your table tennis friends (old and new) and the stars. You’ll get to attend in person the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as sightseeing and social events planned.

Which top players will be there? We don’t really know yet. But we do know we are looking at a probable record number of entries. There were 4602 players at the last World Veterans, in Spain in 2016, but as of the end of August there were double the number of entries this year as there were in 2016 at that time. There are currently 1447 players entered in the online listing (which you can list by name, country, or events), but that doesn’t include most of the 1400 reserved entries from Germany, as well as over 250 that are “pending.” That puts us at over 3000 (already more than 1990, when we previously held it), and it’s still over two months until the “Early Bird” deadline of Dec. 15. The maximum number of entries that will be allowed is 5000, and it’s almost certain that we will reach that number – so enter now, while you can!

There are already over 200 entries each from Germany and China, and about 170 from India, so we are on a pace for huge numbers from them, as well as from the U.S., where we definitely will have a record number of entries. Yes, all your friends will be there – will you? (If you are worried about rating points, don’t. The tournament is not USATT rated. So you get to play for fun and competition.)

Think about it – we normally get 700-1000 players in our U.S. Nationals and Opens. There’ll be about 5000 at the 2018 World Veterans, from all over the world. It’s still early, and yet we already have players from 58 countries – ARG, AUS, AUT, BEL, BRA, CAN, CHI, CHN, COL, CZE, DEN, ENG, ESP, EST, FIN, FRA, GER, HKG, HUN, IMN, IND, IRI, IRL, ISR, ITA, JPN, KAZ, KOS, LTU, LUX, MAS, MGL, NED, NEP, NGR, NOR, NZL, PAK, PER, PHI, PLE, POL, POR, ROU, RSA, RUS, SCO, SIN, SRI, SUI, SVK, SWE, TPE, TUR, UAE, UKR, USA, AND VIE.

Since it’s taking place in the U.S., there’s going to be a lot of interest in USA players. The Over 60 Men’s Doubles Team of Cheng Yinghua and Dan Seemiller (both USATT Hall of Famers) will likely be a huge fan favorite. Both of them spent about a decade dominating table tennis in the U.S., both are surprisingly better at doubles than singles. With Cheng’s two-winged attacks and consistency, and the lefty Dan’s receive and ball control, they have a legitimate chance of winning. Dan is 5-time U.S. Men’s Singles Champion, 12-times Men’s Doubles Champion, and 8-time Mixed Doubles Champion. Dan also won the Bronze Medal for 60-64 Men’s Doubles at the 2016 World Veterans with David Sakai. Cheng was 4-time U.S. Men’s Singles Champion, 3-time Men’s Doubles Champion, 5-time Mixed Doubles Champion (as well as winning Men’s Singles and Doubles at the U.S. Open twice each) – but before he came to the U.S., he was two-time China Open Men’s Doubles Champion. They will also both be battling it out in the 60-64 age category. Cheng will actually be only 59 at the time, but they take ages as of Dec. 31. Dan will turn 64 five days before the competition begins.

Cost is $185 if you enter by the Dec. 15 “Early Bird” deadline. Then the price goes up to $235, with entries cutting off when they reach 5000 or on March 15 – but it’s likely they will reach 5000 well before that, so enter soon. Included in entry fees:

  • Entry to both Singles and Doubles

  • Use of practice facilities

  • Free monorail pass for the week and pickup at the airport (if you stay at the host hotels)

  • Participation in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies

  • Personal accreditation

  • Tournament documents

  • Participant’s diploma and gift

The event will be run by USA Table Tennis, in conjunction with the World Veterans Committee (with Director Eberhard Schöler and chair Hans Westling). The Organizing Committee is co-chaired by Dan Seemiller and David Sakai, with Honorary Host Stellan Bengtsson, and members Gail Kendall, Mike Babuin, Dean Johnson, Dell Sweeris, and Thor Truelson.

Here’s the Volunteer page if you would like to help out and get hospitality. (Alas, you can’t both volunteer and play – but you get to be a HUGE part of the event!) They are looking for volunteers for the following categories: Field of play (table managers, scorekeepers, and other related activities); Data entry; Tournament operations; Hospitality; Accreditation and Administration; Events; Transportation; Translators; and General Assistance.

Here is a listing of USA medalists at the 2016 World Veterans in Spain:

  • Charlene Liu/Patty Martinez won the silver medal in Women's 60-64 Doubles

  • David Sakai/Dan Seemiller won the bronze medal in Men's 60-64 Doubles

  • Minming ZHU won the gold medal in Women's Singles 60-64 Consolation

  • TingNing Cheung won the bronze in Women’s Singles 65-69

  • Ting Ning Cheung/Chiyako Suzuki won the silver medal in Women's 65-69 Doubles

  • Donna Sakai/Connie Sweeris won the bronze medal in Women's 65-69 Doubles Consolation

  • Chong Keng Tay won the bronze in Men’s Singles 75-79

So how do you enter? Here’s the Registration page, and in just minutes you will be entered. Then take your pick of hotels from the Hospitality page – Bally’s, Caesars, Flamingo, Harrahs, or the Paris Hotel. Then practice up!