2012 Decatur Table Tennis Open – Roger Dickson

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As usual the field of entries for the Decatur Open was full before two weeks had gone by; it has to be a record somewhere! The 2012 version was filled in just 11 days, by not just local players, but from other states too like Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Indiana. The best thing is there are no reserved spots or held positions for top players, so it is just the first players to get the form and check sent in!

The top six seeds do get a bye from playing the morning qualifier, but it makes the groupings very competitive. The morning groups for 2012 had a 300 point or less difference from the top seed to the fifth seed! Needless to say the morning session featured many five game matches for the right to go to the Championship division.

Two of the top three players have won this event before, Didi DeSouza won in 2006 and John Mar was the 2011 champion and John was looking to be the first back to back champion EVER! The only issue was the new guy Sameh Awadalla. A former Egyptian national team member, Sameh has relocated to Nashville, Tennessee and does private coaching at the Newgy Table Tennis Training Center.

The seedings played on track until the final semi, where Didi ended the hopes of John in a hard fought five game match. In the Final, Sameh came out on fire winning the first two games at 4! Didi tried more counter attacking just to lose the third at 8. Pressing a bit to end the match early Sameh made some mistakes and Didi made it to 9-all! An over aggressive 3rd ball attack by Didi, gave Sameh the first match and Championship point! The opportunity was not wasted as a wicked forehand ended the event 11-9 for the newest Decatur Open Champion - Sameh Awadallah! The question is: can he repeat it next year?

Roger Dickson

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