The 6th annual Waverley Cumberland Table Tennis Championships were held in Cumberland recently.
After 360 matches with nearly 60 players from over 14 communities across B.C., Mayor Leslie Baird crowned the first-time champion Parham Alamain from Duncan, who defeated his younger brother Arshia Alamain in a closely fought match.
“This is fantastic!” exclaimed Mayor Baird, who watched all the matches, as she has done every year since the inception of the tournament. “I have supported this event, but had no idea how much it would have grown. To have so many different players visit our community and play at this level is inspiring.”
The tourney, organized by the Cumberland Table Tennis Club, and hosted by Cumberland Recreation, was supported this year by the BC Table Tennis Association, which sent a representative to run the tournament.
“Thanks to the sponsorship of the Waverley Hotel over the past three years we have been able to continually expand the tournament,” organizer Adam Kuzma explained. ” This has increased our capacity, our equipment and the ability to attract players from as far away as Vernon. We are ecstatic with how things went.”
Before squaring off against each other in the singles finals, the Alamain brothers paired up as a doubles team and faced another family team, Eric Tran and daughter Vy Tran in the doubles final, ultimately defeating the heavily favourite team from Nanaimo in a close 3-2 decision that saw a lot of emotional fist pumps during and after the match.
The women’s champion was a late entry from Richmond, Annie He, who defeated last year’s runner-up, Loretta Semple from Comox, also in a stunning come from behind victory 3-2.
The junior champion, Andrew Ly from Nanaimo, defeated the Cumberland club’s own rising star Zech Bae, who, at only 10 years old, is already turning heads on the amateur Vancouver Island circuit.
The recreational draw saw Vernon youngster Brian Elitton defeat the elder Han Bae from Comox, in a close finale that saw the father of the junior champion fighting hard and representing the Cumberland club with the stoicism and honour for which he is so well known.
“It is so wonderful to see so many young and upcoming players coming to our Comox valley to play,” commented Ed Schum, owner of Canoki custom made paddles, and head of youth development and coaching at the Cumberland Table Tennis Club. “It’s so important for the development of the game to involve and teach the next generations.”
Coach Schum donated a custom-made paddle for a draw to raise money for youth development and coaching during the tournament, which coincidentally was won by Counc. Jesse Ketler, who is now a full-fledged member of the club.
The Cumberland Table Tennis Club plays every Sunday 2-5:30 and on Monday 4-6:45 in the Cultural Centre in Cumberland. No membership is required; there is a $3 drop-in fee to play. For more information contact Adam Kuzma via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-703-3994.