Fast and Furious: Table Tennis Returns to Lakeland

Players from throughout Florida will converge on Simpson Park Community Center

LAKELAND – Get ready for all the backhands, chops and lobs you can endure.

Table tennis returns to Simpson Park Community Center, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Lakeland this weekend, Sept. 16 and 17, with the Mid Florida Table Tennis Tour. Not to be compared to the holiday version you played with your cousins, this fast-and-furious two-day event is hosted by the Lakeland Table Tennis Association.

“The Mid-Florida Tour is comprised of three clubs, the others in Orlando and Clearwater, hosting two events each,” said tour administrator Brad Woodington. “Winners not only get points toward other tour appearances, but cash prizes as well.”

Table tennis – devotees aren’t too keen on the use of the term ping-pong – has its roots as a British parlor game that, according to legend, was brought to England by troops who had served in India in the late 19th century. Associations started to form in the 1920s and, in the United States, the 1930s. It was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1988.

Locally, the Lakeland association has been running sanctioned tournaments since 2002.

Woodington expects to have a solid turnout amongst participants this weekend.

“The most we’ve had has been 113,” he said. “And while we’re still taking applicants, we average anywhere from 60 to 80 participants in a typical tournament.”

The action starts at 6 p.m. on Friday night – warm ups begin at 5:30. Play begins Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Contact: Jack Cormier
Polk County Tourism & Sports Marketing

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