You’d think they would be sick of winning by now.
At the weekend’s Yukon Table Tennis Championships at Holy Family School in Porter Creek, the two singles winners already have their names engraved on the champion plaques—a lot.
In the men’s singles, Kevin Murphy took the title with an 11-9, 11-2, 16-14 win over Mehrnoush Mahdavi in the finals. It is his 17th singles title. His first was in 1979.
“I played it more on the safer side,” said Murphy of the final. “I know his game and the safest way to play him is with an all around game and wait for mistakes.
“I think with my game—I’ve been playing so long—I can change styles and frustrate an opponent a little bit.”
After taking the first game, Murphy went on a spree to go up 6-0 to start the second game. However, he did not let the score affect his strategy.
“From there I stuck with my game plan,” said Murphy. “There you can go a little more offensive, but I decided not to, I didn’t want to give him any chance to get back into the match.”
Finishing third was Ryan Bachli with an 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 win over Malkolm Boothroyd.
Murphy also finished first in the open doubles with partner Bachli, and second in the random team event.
Bachli won the junior boys’ singles title.
In women’s singles, Edna Knight won her 11th singles title. Her first was in 1982. She went undefeated in four round robin games for the title.
“It’s fun winning, but I don’t play to win, I play for fun,” said Knight. “I prefer coaching and when I coach I’m like a robot at the other end. My strategy, coaching and playing are three different things.”
The championship was a Whitehorse Table Tennis Club event, but Laurie Sokolowski came down from Dawson for the tournament.
Sokolowski plays on the national disabled team for table tennis, and represented Canada at the Pan American Games two years ago in Brazil.
Playing in a wheelchair, she took second with Murphy in Saturday’s random team event, in which players are randomly placed in doubles teams, and fourth in the women’s singles.
“I always enjoy playing table tennis,” said Sokolowski. “I love getting in as many tournaments as possible, that’s why I came. Whenever there’s a tournament within driving distance, I’ll be in it.”
In July she will be representing the Yukon at the nationals in Quebec.
“To my knowledge it’s the first time that the Yukon will be represented in disabled table tennis,” said Sokolowski.
And Sokolowski will be forced to compete against men at the nationals because she is currently the only woman in the field.
When playing someone in a wheelchair the rules are altered, such as serves can’t be too angled and must travel over the end of the table.
In doubles, the team with a player in a wheelchair is not required to alternate between shots.
Most of the players had never competed against someone in a wheelchair. And that was not all they had to get used to.
“What she has going for her is she plays left handed and we don’t have anyone in the club that plays left handed,” said Knight. “And she’s playing with a type of rubber (on her paddle) called pips, and pips are really hard to play against. Any spin you give her reverses back on us.”
1st Kyle Gonder
2nd Sana Syed
3rd Anthony Barteaux
4th Kia Knowler
Junior boys’ singles
1st Ryan Bachli
2nd Alexander Zheng
3rd Malkolm Boothroyd
4th Kamran Idrees
1st Edna Knight
2nd Zara Bachli
3rd Xiu Mei
4th Laurie Sokolowski
5th Wendy Boothroyd
1st Kevin Murphy
2nd Mehrnoush Mahdavi
3rd Ryan Bachli
4th Malkolm Boothroyd
1st Kevin Murphy/Ryan Bachli
2nd Mehrnoush Mahdavi/Sandeep Sharma
3rd Malkolm Boothroyd/Ken Madsen
4th Kamran Idrees/Sain Syed
Random team event
1st Ryan Bachli/David Zheng
2nd Kevin Murphy/Laurie Sokolowski
3rd Ken/Mark Preston
4th Kamran Idrees/Sandeep Sharma
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