Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

MAKING HIS SHOT – Table tennis player Ryan Bachli, back, hits the ball toward his opponent during round-robin play of the 2019 Yukon Champions on May 4 at École Whitehorse Elementary School.

Table tennis players earn Yukon Championship crowns

The 2019 Yukon Championships of table tennis were held on the first weekend of May at École Whitehorse Elementary School.

By John Tonin on May 15, 2019

The 2019 Yukon Championships of table tennis were held on the first weekend of May at École Whitehorse Elementary School. The gym, which was divided into four courts, had a consistent flow of athletes on the tables, who made the ball look like an absolute blur when they made a shot.

The Men’s Singles Open category was won by Ryan Bachli in three sets against Taras Yurkiv. Table tennis coach Kevin Murphy said Bachli is currently the player to beat in the territory.

“Ryan is a dominant force these days,” said Murphy. “He’s the one to beat.”

At the 2008 Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife, Bachli became the first Yukon table tennis player to medal at the AWG. He earned three bronze in the singles, doubles and team competitions.

“It was a legendary match,” said Murphy. “He beat a Russian kid (Pavel Ryabinin). His coach had three other games going on and didn’t think he needed to worry about the kid from the Yukon.”

Murphy said the game on May 4 between Yurkiv and Bachli was fairly close. Bachli won the first game 11-9.

“Ryan changed a few things up (after the first),” said Murphy.

Bachli went on to win the final two games of the match 11-7, 11-6.

Murphy said Yurkiv continues to get better at the sport.

“Taras has been improving,” said Murphy. “He works hard at home. He has a robot he can play against. He still has some holes and that got exposed by Ryan.”

During the championship, Murphy said he was the only player to take a game from Bachli.

“You have to push him and outsmart him,” said Murphy. “I’ve lost my advantage. I need to rely on smarts because I don’t have the athleticism anymore.”

Daniel Li defeated Murphy to place third.

Raghvi Sharma, one of the Yukon’s Canada Winter Games athletes, came first in the Women’s Open singles competition.

Sharma needed three games to dispatch of second place finisher Xiu-Mei Zhang. Murphy said Sharma is on the ups.

“Raghvi is on the rise in the club, she’s been on for a couple of years,” said Murphy.

“Her game has elevated so much and she is becoming a top-notch player. I’m not surprised she won.”

Ming Huang was the third-place finisher.

As Sharma continues to improve, along with four other core players who are junior aged athletes, Murphy said their games will continue to elevate.

“One thing I take a lot of pleasure in, with her (Sharma) play advancing is getting to try different training techniques,” said Murphy. “I get to challenge all of them to improve their game.”

Murphy is expecting next year to be a strong year for table tennis in the Yukon.

Krish Sharma defeated Jacob Tucker to win the Junior Boys single crown. Raghvi Sharma defeated Ming Huang on the girls’ side.

The Open doubles final was won by Bachli and Li who defeated Yurkiv and Murphy.

“It was two young guns versus some older guys,” said Murphy. “Daniel and Ryan bring interesting styles to doubles. They are a good team.”

The Junior Doubles, which was mixed, was won by the brother and sister combo of Raghvi and Krish. They defeated Tucker and Huang.

Murphy said doubles is played a lot in the clubs and allows players to sharpen their skills while learning from higher calibre athletes.

The Yukon Championships were the last tournament of the season to be held in Whitehorse.

A group of players will be heading to a tournament in mid-June in Anchorage, Alaska.

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