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Table Tennis Champ on Top of His Game at 91

From an article by Pam Kragen

Growing up in Detroit during the Depression, Si Wasserman was so poor that the only sporting equipment he owned was an old football stuffed with newspapers.

Then one day the 12-year-old orphan walked into a local recreation center and became transfixed by the sight of two men batting a small plastic ball back and forth across a table with wooden paddles. It was the beginning a lifetime love affair with table tennis.

Last week, the 91-year-old Wasserman, now an Oceanside resident, clinched his first-ever grand slam by winning the last of four major national and international table tennis championships for his age group.

The victory took place July 2-6 at the U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas, where he was the oldest competitor out of more than 1,000 players from 26 countries. To win his title in the 85-and-older bracket, he beat Berta Speisman of Laguna Woods in three games straight.

“She’s a young 86, and she plays a good game, but I’m a little stronger,” he said of the 11-3, 11-7, 11-8 victory.

“He’s the king,” said player Shelley Hardy of Carlsbad. “He’s the top person we honor and respect, and he’s a consummate gentleman.”

Read the full article on UTSanDiego
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