(by Steve Hopkins)
The RI Spring Open was held this weekend at the RITTA club in Manville, Rhode Island. Over 50 players from seven States competed in six events with each event having 14-18 entries. It was the most competitive field in recent history, with 9 players over 2000 (two over 2300). It was also an all Rhode Island final, with former US Junior Team member (now Brown University senior) Charles Deng facing off against Christopher Omotara who has recently moved to Pawtucket from Lagos, Nigeria.
Charles Deng won the Fall Open at RITTA. He also competed in the NCTTA finals in North Carolina last month. He is still juggling a rigorous class schedule and has not taken on the form that made headlines a few years ago – but he is a strong opponent and capable of challenging just about anyone in the US. Omotara is new to the area. His first US tournament was in Westchester last month where he had one win over a 2550 player but lost to some lower rated players and came away with an initial rating of 2322. On paper, the top two were both over 2300 and within a few points of each other. But Omotara was the stronger player on this day – winning three games in a row.
With our little State only 35 miles across, the Rhode Island club draws players weekly from Massachusetts and Connecticut as well. However, when you take our local club regulars and add Brown University’s strong team and a strong player like Omotara, these 35 miles miles become pretty tough table tennis territory.
The next event at the Rhode Island club will be the Rhode Island Closed Juniors Championship and High School Team Championship on May 18. Our next Open will likely be in August – though we are speaking with a local group about sharing a venue and hosting a larger, regional event. Details will be posted at www.ritta.org in a few weeks.
2019 RITTA Spring Open Results
Open: Christopher Ayo Omotara over Charles Deng (3-0)
2100: Larry Bavly over Steve Hopkins (3-1)
1800: Raja Mahajan over Giuliano Berellini (3-0)
1500: Oscar Salim over Monnawat Krasaeian (3-1)
1200: Frank Bartomoleo over Saketh Amaravai (3-2)
1000: John Shunney over Saketh Amaravai (3-1)