You might see some of the table tennis competitors you watch this December in Fort Worth on TV next year, live from Tokyo. That’s because the Seamaster US Open will feature some world-class athletes, both from the USA and other parts of the world. It’s the most significant tournament held this year by USA Table Tennis, the sport’s national governing body in this country.

The Tournament

Players from 6 years old to 90 will smack balls back and forth on tables spread throughout the Fort Worth Convention Center. It includes 24 ratings events, which means that players enter according to their certified ability levels. You can watch para table tennis, alternate tourneys featuring sandpaper and hardbat rackets, and team competitions, along with age events and the main draws featuring the top players. Prize money at stake totals $50,000.

 

Will We See Olympic Athletes?

Yes, the tournament annually sees entries from past and future Olympians from multiple countries.

 

Why Is Table Tennis A Thing In Fort Worth?

The Texas Wesleyan program has won multiple national titles over the last two decades, including 14 Co-ed Team titles from 2004-2019. Longtime TWU men’s golf coach Bobby Cornett, himself an avid table tennis player,  established the program in the late 2000s, and the program has become one of the country’s best. 

 

Is This A Game Of Ping Pong?

The most serious players call it “table tennis,” although a world championship of ping pong (played with old-school sandpaper rackets) does exist and some of those events will be available to see in the Fort Worth tournament. Modern equipment and techniques have given table tennis nuances of spin and power that elevated it from a 19th-century parlor game to a sport worthy of inclusion in the Olympic movement. The phrase “ping pong” is trademarked and has actually been owned by Parker Brothers since the early 20th century. At the Open, spectators will be able to see the difference between old school ping pong and table tennis by watching the main events vs. hardbat/sandpaper events. 

 

How Do I Enter?

If you’d like to enter, sign up at the USA Table Tennis website. If you want to watch, advance tickets will be on sale later this fall or you can buy them at the entrance to the event. Corporate sponsorships are also available through USA Table Tennis.