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West Valley City Journal

WVC table tennis center caters to both families and pro players

Aug 31, 2017 03:15PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Instructors at the Salt Lake Table Tennis and Events Center spend time with one-on-one instruction. (Adam Davis/Salt Lake Table Tennis Center)

By Greg James |  [email protected]

The two players in the championship paused to wipe the sweat from their brows. The match was filled with fantastic lobs and smashing serves, each player trying to outwit the other. For them it was just another day at the table tennis club.

The Salt Lake Table Tennis Training and Event Center in West Valley City has become the premier host to beginners and expert players alike. 

“The center has been here for seven years. We have regular members that play two or three times a week, but we are also available to anyone who wants to come play. We have foldable tables that can be used in official tournaments and equipment for anyone that needs it,” event center owner Adam Davis said.

Table tennis is also known as ping pong. It can be played as singles or on a doubles team. The object is to allow the ball to bounce only once on your side of the table while making it difficult for your opponent to return to ball back to you.

The table tennis center is located at 3572 S. 1950 West in West Valley City. It is open seven days a week 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and hosts tournaments Wednesday and Sunday evenings. 

The center is available for open play by challenging a table to play the winner. It can also be reserved for private parties and groups. At the center they have six Butterfly professional quality tables.

They also offer group and private lessons and clinics. The pricing for lessons range from $15-50 an hour depending on the coach’s ability. Sun Bei, better known as Beibei, is one of the top coaches. She played professionally in China and was a member of the Chinese National team for two years. 

The club has 100 members and typically has 30-40 players per night. Players of all abilities use the training center. Some of its players have participated in national tournaments. Tables can be rented for $20 an hour or you can play on the challenge table for $10 a day.

The center hosts a tournament about every two months. On July 29, they held the first Alzheimer’s awareness tournament and donated proceeds to Alzheimer’s research. 

“For our tournament we had 40-60 players and had a placement round and then they were divided up into divisions depending on how you played. Then we had a double elimination tournament. California has a lot of tournaments. The nationals and open tournaments are held in Las Vegas. Those are the biggest tournaments in the country. There are 15-20 people from this area that participate,” Davis said.

Nationally, players earn ratings by winning or losing. A professional usually has a rating over 2000. Valentin Leteller, from West Valley, took first place in unrated division at nationals held in Las Vegas July 3-8.

Helling Roberts took first place in the u1900 division at nationals and took second in the u2000 division.

Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988.

The game originated in England in the late 1800s. It has several names including “whiff-waff” and was most notably played by the upper class as an after-dinner parlor game. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics the ITTF increased the ball size (effectively slowing the ball down) to try to make the game more TV friendly. They also changed scoring for 21 point games to 11.

“I started playing about 10 years ago long before this club existed. We went to a church gym one night a week and would play. I got addicted and have never stopped playing. I had the chance to buy the club. It is a great family activity. We have families coming with their kids and they enjoy it,” Davis said.