Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

GOOD RETURN – Christina Nie returns the ball in the Women's Open final against Raghvi Sharma during the Table Tennis Yukon Championships at Whitehorse Elementary School on Sunday.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

INTENSE CONCENTRATION – Raghvi Sharma returns the ball during the Women's Open final against Christina Nie.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

FINE FORM– Daniel Li returns the ball during a Men's Open match. He triumphed over doubles partner Ryan Bachli in the Men's Open final.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

EYE ON THE BALL – Noel Dela Cruz readies a return during a competitive Men's Open match against Iman Gharraie.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

READYING A RETURN – Krish Sharma attempts a return in a Men's Open match. He finished third in the competition.

Table Tennis Yukon holds 2023 Yukon Championships

Table Tennis Yukon held their 2023 Yukon Championships at Whitehorse Elementary School on the weekend.

By Whitehorse Star on May 16, 2023

Table Tennis Yukon held their 2023 Yukon Championships at Whitehorse Elementary School on the weekend.

The juniors (U18) and novices played Saturday and the seniors competed on Sunday.

Brian Stuart ran the competition.

The Star dropped by Sunday to check out the action.

Christina Nie edged Raghvi Sharma (older sister of Krish Sharma) in a Women's Open match on Sunday 14-12, 11-7, 11-6.

Nie said the game was "pretty good. Raghvi is a really good player. I'm so happy I could win. That's (a) good game."

Sharma added "It was a very good game, pretty quick."

Nie and Sharma played in a championship game in 2019.

"I haven't played for two years but I played a lot before that," related Sharma.

"It's a lot of work to get back into the sport, but I enjoy table tennis."

Nie said she has played a long time.

"This year, I played lots of doubles … I played against men, so I think that kind of improved my skills."

Gerry Varchegga-Bertogli, who is from France, played Ryan Bachli in a match.

"I'm pretty new here, so I'm not really a pro, I'm just here to play.

"I just joined here for fun. It's not about winning. It's just for participating."

Varchegga-Bertogli added, "It's always nice to play better players just to look at their technique … that's how you improve."

Krish Sharma won two straight games before losing to Li in five hard-fought games.

The Star spoke with Sharma before his game against Li and asked him how he was feeling.

"Tired. I had to work in the morning."

As for his prospects of winning the championship, Sharma said, "I don't know. Just hoping for the best but I might choke cause I'm still a little bit – not the best right now."

Sharma said the rest of his season went "pretty good. After Canada Games, I had a two-month break."

Sharma said he played "decently well" at the Canada Winter Games (CWG) in P.E.I.

"I lost a few games I know I should have won. But that happens I guess."

Noel Dela Cruz, in town from Fort Nelson, B.C., said he struggled in his match against Iman Gharraie.

"I haven't played for two years.

"It was a close match. I never would expect that. I was actually visiting and wasn't expecting there was a tournament.

'Maybe I'm just gonna join them. Have fun.'"

"I'm having a good time," he added.

Kevin Murphy, head coach for Table Tennis Yukon, said the championships were going well.

"I was really happy with the way things turned out yesterday (Saturday). We had a really good response for the Junior Boys and the Novice Singles.

"We had five doubles pairs and then we had six in the Novice and six in the Junior Boys, so it was good.

"I feel really buoyed by that because it's coming out of the COVID epidemic and it's taken a while to get people interested in the game again because it doesn't have that massive appeal of some of the other major sports."

In the Junior Men's Singles final, Krish Sharma triumphed over Elden Wickham (who upset CWG team member Victor Li to get to the final) 11-4, 11-7, 11-8. Alvin Ly & Victor Li were third.

In the Junior Women's final, it was Melody Qiu downing Naki Nartey 11-4, 11-4, 11-3.

In the Junior Doubles final, Krish Sharma and Misa Svoboda triumphed over Elden Wickham and Everett Stuart. Victor Li and Alvin Ly came in third.

Murphy said the Novice event was for all the kids that are new to the sport and the club.

"Some of the kids have been out all year and working with me on the Saturday program for juniors."

Murphy said two sets of brothers are in the novice program.

"It's always nice to tap into a family and have more than one player out of that family because it really does strengthen your program."

The two families are the Fournier and Skelton families.

In the Junior Novice final, it was Tommy Skelton over Matthew Fournier 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6. In third were Henry Skelton and Zakk Fournier.

Murphy thought there was a good turnout for the Men's Seniors.

"We've got a good group of players that are testing for the men's. Krish, the number one junior, is quite capable of winning the whole thing if he's got his game together at the right time.

"The defending champion, Ryan, is a master at winning. He's been the champion for a few years in a row now and he's hard to beat."

In the Men's Open Singles, defending champ Ryan Bachli was upset by his doubles partner Daniel Li 8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-9. Krish Sharma and Iman Gharraie were third.

In Open Doubles, Daniel Li and Ryan Bachli came in first. Iman Gharraie and Kevin Murphy were second and Raghvi and Krish Sharma were third.

Murphy said he was looking forward to next year's Arctic Winter Games group.

"We're gonna have some players to choose from and that we can work with."

Murphy added the Yukon Champs are, "a good conclusion to the season and I hope to see more people out trying the game."

Table Tennis Yukon will have a five-six week run during the summer.

"It's probably for the diehards that want to keep going during the summer," said Murphy.

The next season for the club starts in September at the start of the school year.

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