New England Table Tennis Championship held at MIT

By Sylvana Chan


The New England Table Tennis Championship hosted its second annual competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Nov. 24. Approximately 100 players in more than 30 teams competed for gold, silver and bronze titles across four levels of expertise: D Division for beginners, C Division for intermediate players, B Division for more advanced players and A Division for the experts.

The competition drew a diverse crowd: the youngest player at the tournament was 10 years old and trained daily and plays semi-professionally. The oldest was in his 70s.

Vincent Liung, one of the tournament organizers, said anyone can participate in the competition. Amateurs or pros, men or women, young or old — there is a skill category for every table tennis enthusiast to participate.

Iris Li competed in the A Division games. A graduate student at Northeastern University, Li picked up the sport in her native China when she was just 4 years old. Eventually, her hobby turned serious and she spent a few years training at the prestigious Beijing Sports School.

“I like table tennis because it doesn’t require physical contact — it’s great for girls to play,” Li said.

Vladimir Shapiro, a male competitor from the A Division, said, “Table tennis is a unique sport that provides you with both mental and physically satisfaction.” He played professionally for the Russian national team in the late 1970s.

“It’s a little like chess and athletics put together,” Shapiro said. “A true challenge.”

The competition’s success already has Liung looking toward the future. “I’m hoping to have more participants in the competition and expand its scope to be bigger — more than just New England.”

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