Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

INTENSE ACTION – Tyler Nguyen competes against his brother Timothy in the Open Novice category of the Table Tennis Yukon Open championships this past weekend at the White­horse Elementary School.

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

THE CHAMP – Philippe Côté-Jacques returns the ball during a match. Côté-Jacques won the Men’s Open category.

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

FAMILY AFFAIR – The Nguyens pose for a photo with Table Tennis Yukon head coach Kevin Murphy (at back). Left to right: Tyler, Timothy and their father Tan.

Image title

Photo by Morris Prokop

CONCENTRATION – Melody Qiu readies a return during a match against Christina Nie. Nie won the Women’s Open title.

New and old faces compete in Table Tennis Yukon championships

New and old faces competed in the recent Table Tennis Yukon Open Championships.

By Morris Prokop on May 10, 2024

New and old faces competed in the recent Table Tennis Yukon Open Championships.

The Champs took place May 4-5 at Whitehorse Elementary School.

Tan Nguyen competed with his sons Tyler, 11 and Timothy, 7, in the Open Novice category.

“We started coming here just within this month. The kids, they wanted to try table tennis. I just found out they have a table tennis club here and I got them involved this month and then they had a competition here, so we just signed up.”

Nguyen added, “We’re just playing today and enjoying the fun.”

Nguyen said, despite the family competition, “We’re playing for real, you know.”

Nguyen said he figured, “If they’re gonna play, I might as well play too. Better than just sitting around watching.”

Nguyen was asked what it means to be playing with his sons in the tournament.

“It’s wonderful,” he replied. “It definitely is family bonding time. Playing together and building relationships together through table tennis.”

Philippe Côté-Jacques won the Open Men’s category.

“It’s a really fun tournament. A lot of good people around here, and I was really excited to go all the way.”

This was Côté-Jacques’ first time in the Yukon. He’s here teaching orienteering for three months.

“This is my first-ever ping pong tournament.”

He said he normally plays Racketlon, which, according to Wikipedia, is a sport in which competitors play a sequence of the four most popular racket sports: table tennis, badminton, squash, and tennis.

Côté-Jacques said he also participated in the Yukon Open squash tournament recently at Better Bodies.

He didn’t expect to do so well in the table tennis tourney.

“No, not at all. In the beginning, he wanted me to register for the Novice category.”

“We didn’t know how good he was,” chimed in Kevin Murphy, the resident table tennis guru and head coach.

Côté-Jacques said the key to him winning was, “I aim mostly for the backhand of the guy (Iman Gharraie), cause his forehand was really good.

“He was a really good player.”

Côté-Jacques had two five-set matches on his way to victory.

“Everybody’s good here. I had five good matches. Nothing was easy.”

Murphy said he thought the tournament went really well.

“We had a lot of new faces and even some faces from the past.”

One of the old faces included Vinh Ma, a former champion from 1985 now living in Toronto.

“He did really well,” related Murphy, “He ended up with the bronze medal and it was good. I’m glad I didn’t face him on the table, because we like to leave whoever won the last one back in the past. It could have ended our friendship if I had beaten him or he had beaten me,” Murphy joked.

Murphy added, “He’s been threatening to come back for a few years now and he finally did it. It was good to see him.”

Ma said it’s good to be back playing competitively.

“I wasn’t playing any competitive games since I left Whitehorse and I’m not young anymore.”

“It was good games. I think I played pretty good, to my standard. Couldn’t be any happier.”

Ma added, “I hope Kevin can keep this club going and going and going.”

The list of winners from the tournament can be found on the Yukon Table Tennis Facebook page.

Be the first to comment

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.