The fourth leg of the USATT Hopes Road to LA 2028 coincided with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trials, and rightfully so. Taking place on February 28- March 1 at the acclaimed ICC Table Tennis Center in Milpitas, CA, young athletes actively practiced drills and trained on Friday and Saturday, with star coaches and inspirational words from 2000 US Olympian Michelle Do Reed. These kids are the future of table tennis, and may one day compete in later Olympic trials as their older counterparts recently did this previous weekend in Santa Monica, CA.
Members on the organizing committee for this leg of the Hopes Program were Rajul Sheth, Bruce Liu and Yau-Man Chan, with Liu and Chan providing further assistance as tournament directors for the Sunday Hopes Qualifying tournament.
There was a total of 22 players, 16 who participated in both the camp and qualifying tournament, and another 6 who only utilized the camp portion of the program.
There were 8 girls and 8 boys in the Sunday qualifiers, a perfect number to implement the initial group round robin format followed by a single elimination round, in order to determine the top four players of each gender.
In the boys’ round robin stages, there was only one upset, occurring in group one. The third seeded Sai Anish Karth Sivakumar, rated 1754, defeated 1833 rated Andy Zhang 3-1, thus advancing on to the single elimination round and securing a spot in Stage 2 of the USATT Hopes Program. The elimination round went without any further upset, the top four boys being Xianyao He, Michael Peng, Kagan Feng, and Sivakumar rounding out the group in fourth.
On the girls’ end, one player shined through the ranks, 1337 rated Genelia William. She beat all three of her round robin opponents, even ousting first seed Ellie Yan, a player who was over 500 rating points higher than her! William proceeded to successfully defeat her semi finals opponent Lynna Xu, and then her winning streak ended in the finals against 1604 rated Emily Goodwin. The top four girls were Goodwin, William, Xu, and Yan.
Many thanks to Olympian Michelle Do Reed along with staff and coaches at the ICC Table Tennis Center for putting on a stellar event. Congratulations to the girls’ and boys’ qualifiers from this fourth leg of the USATT Hopes Tour!