The fifth leg of the USATT Hopes program took off in the Westford TTC in Massachusetts over the weekend of Friday March 6th- Sunday, March 8th.
Veteran coach and former professional player Qiumars Hedayatian was in charge of the Friday and Saturday camp practices, proficiently helped by several other excellent coaches.
During the camp, the 22 eager young participants received individualized instruction, drills, multi-ball, and workouts to develop power.
2-time US Olympian Lily Yip reprised her role from the first leg of the tour as motivational Olympic figure, imparting inspirational wisdom to the young athletes.
In a speech, she addressed and thanked USATT, the Westford TTC’s coaches, the program’s participants as well as their diligent parents. She spoke of her own experiences in China starting out in rigorous practice, which would lead her to the US and becoming a 2 time Olympian as well as participating in several elite level tournaments internationally. She also talked about the cultural diversity of table tennis and how it is beyond a sport, also acting as a social and professional platform to learn from other people and network for a productive future.
Yip fired up this newest crop of Olympic Hopefuls for the following day of the Qualifying tournament, where the top four finishers of each gender would advance to Stage 2 of the program. 16 of the 22 players also fought it out in the Qualifying tournament held on Sunday, March 8th.
There were only 4 girls that participated in the tournament, therefore they all advanced after playing only one round robin. A single upset occurred with 4th seeded Saanvi Bathula defeating 3rd seeded Eva Liung.
The final rankings were as follows:
- Isabella Zai
- Celina Yau
- Saanvi Bathula
- Eva Liung
12 boys first battled in initial group round robins and the top four ranked continued onward into the semifinals. Ultimately Charles Shen defeated Yashraj Shah in a competitive final (3-1). The results followed a similar pattern as the girls with the 4th seed Andrew Fang upsetting 3rd seed Botond Acosta (3-1). Here are the qualifying boys:
- Charles Shen
- Yashraj Shah
- Andrew Fang
- Botond Acosta
USATT congratulates the qualifiers on their results, and a gracious thank you to Lily Yip as well as all the coaches and participants that made the camp and tournament weekend a great experience.