Berkeley First Stop for 2006 STIGA North American Table Tennis Tour By Riya Bhattacharjee

Friday February 17, 2006

UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports Facility will play host to the Western Open, a four-star table tennis tournament this weekend. 

Among the nearly 200 ping pong players registered for the tournament are San Jose resident Khoa Nguyen, a former U.S. Olympian and U.S. National Team member; Stefan Feth, who is the national men’s singles semifinalist from Germany and Western Open champion; and Freddie Gabriel, the top-rated local player from Richmond. 

The women’s side will include California powerhouses, such as Jackie Lee, who will be competing against the mother and daughter entry of Lily Yip (the top-rated U.S. woman over 40) and Judy Hugh (the top-rated U.S girl under 18). 

UC Berkeley will be the first stop on the 2006 STIGA North American Tour, the seventh in a series of professionally managed and organized events sanctioned by USA Table Tennis. Sponsored by STIGA, a Swedish manufacturer of sporting goods, the tour is owned and operated by the North American Table Tennis (NATT) and is America’s only professional table tennis series. 

“We’re very pleased to be at UC Berkeley,” NATT President Richard Lee said. “The school has been outstanding to work with, the facility is first-rate, and the students, particularly their table tennis team, should enjoy the opportunity to see top-flight competition. California is a hotbed of table tennis activity and is a popular travel destination as well. These two factors have combined to bring us a healthy turnout.” 

The open singles round robin play begins on Saturday starting at 4:30 p.m. and the championship matches of open singles begin Sunday Afternoon at 1 p.m. Spectators will be admitted to the recreation center, at 2301 Bancroft Way, free of charge..