I recently went last weekend to the Arnold Classic tournament and national ranking tournament in Ohio. It was located in Columbus, Ohio where Arnold Schwarzenegger hosts his annual event which consists of many sports including table-tennis.
My goal was to play in the national ranking tournament as I wanted to play the top US players before the next Olympic Trials.
I was the #2 seed in the qualifiers but lost my only match to a lower-rated player so did not advance to the national ranking tournament. I can see things I could have done differently as I have video of my match and did not play my best. I perhaps could have been more ready to play as well.
As a result, I had to play the Arnold tournament instead of the National Ranking tournament and had one good win against a former Brazilian junior national team member, Jeff Yamada, rated between 2500-2600. I guess I like playing with Brazilian national team members as my best career win is against long-time Brazilian national team member, Pan Am Gold Medalist and Olympian Thiago Monteiro. Two of my best wins in the past year are against former Brazilian national team member Bruno Ventura Dos Anjos and now Jeff Yamada. I had one bad loss in this tournament and no other good wins. I guess my two days of practice and two days of jogging in the past 3 months were not enough to give me confidence in this tournament. I have videos of 3 of my losses and see things that I could have differently and could have done better.
Arnold Schwarzenegger himself made an appearance on the final day and it’s safe to say most Fremont Table Tennis Academy students could bagel him (our terminology for beating someone 11-0!). He said in a speech before he started playing that he played with his siblings growing up and they bonded through ping-pong. The paddle they gave him was also too fast for him as he is definitely the recreational player and used to the recreational paddles.
Posted by Shashin Shodhan on Saturday, March 3, 2018
The national ranking tournament was the most poorly run team trials out of the past 20 years I have attended team trials on and off. Firstly, in the invitation list on the prospectus, many US players, especially the older ones, were not even named on the invitation list even if their ratings were higher than those on the list. In round robin team trials, there have always been a rule that if a player defaults a match, then all his matches are counted as defaults. This trials did not have the rule. There were so many defaults including defaults after which players then played matches. I know two players who would have made the final 8 men if the rule about defaults was there so this directly affected the standings and who made the final 8. One player described it as a “bad situation that became worse.” Then after the initial round robin group, the final round robin group players were told the remaining matches would be 3 out of 5. So with carryovers, some matches would be 4 out of 7 and some 3 out of 5??!! Also, the order of matches given out was incorrect. In a round robin trials like this, I think family members should be playing each other first, then same club players, then same state, and then the normal order. Otherwise, defaults and matches could be questioned to help some make the team over others as I know has happened in the past.