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Rhode Island's Rich Table Tennis History

Rhode Island’s Rich Table Tennis History

(by Steve Hopkins)

One of the neatest things about living in Rhode Island is the rich table tennis history in the region.  Despite being the smallest U.S. State, Rhode Island is prominently represented in Tim Boggan’s History of Table Tennis.  The club was a regular stop for regional players and pros for a generation with appearances from Dick Miles and Marty Reisman and Bernie Bukiet and later from more recent legends like David Sakai and George Braithwaite.  We were home to USATT Hall of Famer Dick Evans, and were host for nearly a decade to USATT Magazine and one of the most interesting features of the club is the League – which has been running using the same basic rules since the 1940s.

 We maintain a list of RI State Champions on a plaque when you enter the building.  The rules have changed a little over the years, with many champions named through a State Championships tournament and others named through an annual league title – and in some years with RI residency required, while other years extended eligibility to club members, even if they are from neighboring Massachusetts or Connecticut.  Regardless, its a neat feeling to walk past a plaque noting winners in the 70s and 80s (and a few from the 60s, 50s, and before).

RHODE ISLAND CHAMPIONS

2019     Murali Mani

2018     Murali Mani

2017     Murali Mani

2016     Murali Mani

2015     Steve Hopkins

2014     Xue Di

2013     Henry Hu

2012     Nam Trinh

2011     Nam Trinh

2010     Steve Hopkins

2009     Nam Trinh

2008     Nam Trinh

2007     Steve Hopkins

2006     Steve Hopkins

2005     Steve Hopkins

2004     Xue Di

2003     Xue Di

2002     Xue Di

2001     Artur Samek

2000    Xue Di

1999     Xue Di

1998     Haig Raky

1997     Artur Samek

1996     Xue Di

1995     Eduard Hamamjian

1994     Eduard Hamamjian

1993     Marta Zurowski

1992     Marta Zurowski

1989     Eduard Hamamjian

1988     No Championship

1987     No Championship

1986     No Championship

1985     No Championship

1984     Eduard Hamamjian

1983     Eduard Hamamjian

1982     Eduard Hamamjian

1981     Matt Stamp

1980     Matt Stamp

1979     Rick Ferri

1978     Sparky James

1977     Sparky James

1976     Sparky James

1975     Irving Levine

***************

1968     Irving Levine

1962     Dick Evans

1951    Tony Fionte

1939     Tony Fionte

 

When the club compiled the list a few years ago, we only included names for years where we could verify a champion.  Unfortunately, there were a few years without a championship, and many years without records.  This has likely under-represented great players like Tony Fionte (who was the State champion before WWII AND after WWII, but where there was no record of formal championships in the late 40s or early 50s where he was likely also the champion).  Irving Levine was also underrepresented, as every source we had indicated he was the best player in the club for about a 10 year period, but we were only able to locate records of two titles.  And Eduard Hamamjian was also short-changed, both with a period where the club moved (and there was no unified championship), and in the change of operators misplacing records from a few years at the start of the 90s.

Over the years, the club has had three locations (Providence, then Warwick, and now Manville). The Rhode Island Club has seen some updates, we’re now a We Are Butterfly club with great tables and lighting and wood floors. But our rich history continues.  Come visit us and share in that history.

Web: www.ritta.org

Facebook: facebook.com/groups/RITableTennis

Address: 30 Railroad St., Manville RI 02838

Phone: 401-769-6666

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