1998 HTTC Fall Round Robin &
Special Olympic World Games Qualifier
December 5th saw two concurrent tournaments at the HTTC. The first was the Fall Round Robin which acts as a final warm-up to the US Nationals. The second was the first ever Texas qualifying event for next years Special Olympic World Games. Table Tennis will be featured there for the first time.
The athletes involved in these games are mentally challenged. Table Tennis is an ideal sport as it requires them to exercise both their minds and their physical abilities. One of the first things you notice is just how special these folks are. Not only the competitors, but the organizers as well. Every match was umpired by recently qualified volunteers. Everyone truly got into the spirit of the event. Many of the volunteers stayed after their tournament concluded to watch the Fall Round Robin.
Top players were featured at this tournament. US #3 Jim Butler, #15 Viktor Subonj, over 70's Champion Grady Gordon, Taju Oshodi, Hector Bennet, and D.G. VanVooren were the top seeded players. All of these players moved through the preliminaries to end up in the A Division. One of the suprises of the tournament was 13 yr. old Howard Lamb who moved into the B division with his upset of Randy Medcalf.
The big match of the tournament was the finals featuring Subonj vs. Butler. This was a war. Viktor, who has called Houston his home for the last 2 years had the crowd on his side and this seemed to effect Jim, who just this week officially moved here.
Both players are excellent servers and relied heavily on them to setup their games.
It soon developed into a matchup of Butler's backhand vs. Subonj's forehand.
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