2021 Edgeball Chicago International Table Tennis Open a big hit in Libertyville
Athletes of all ages and abilities gathered Saturday to compete against some of the best players in the world during the 2021 Edgeball Chicago International Table Tennis Open at the Libertyville Sports Complex.
Players ranging from 6-year-olds to people in their 80s rotated around a sea of blue Ping-Pong tables as they volleyed through their matches.
Nine-year-old Alina Wang came all the way from Houston to play in the tournament. Wang, who was representing club HITTA, has been playing for two years.
Quinton Smith of Chicago has played in more than 10 tournaments since he started playing competitively in 2018 at the behest of his girlfriend.
"You see a world-class player playing a kid's game with little kids," said Englebert Solis, owner of tournament sponsor Edgeball Table Tennis.
The tourney drew 321 players from more than two dozen countries, including the national champion of the Dominican Republic, several top Nigerian players, and outstanding teenage brothers Sid and Nandan Naresh of Lisle, who have been grabbing international attention since they were in elementary school.
The arena had 54 tables in action. The Open Singles champion will win $2,000, and a total of $8,500 in prize money will be distributed.
"You walk around and hear every language in the world being spoken," said Ed Hogshead, 68, the tournament director and 2018 senior table tennis champion in Illinois. "It's everything from beginners to Olympians."