The first annual Bellevue College table tennis tournament took place at the Wellness Center May 8, with Eric Pattison defeating Koki Morigami 2-1 in the final. The tournament, which was organized and run jointly by the Wellness Center and the International Business Professions program, was made up of 14 student, staff and faculty, participants and was deemed a great success by Deron Dahlke, the assistant director of the IBP.
The tournament was conducted in a double-elimination format, with each game going to 11 points and each match consisting of a best-of-three series of games. There were a couple hiccups with the organization of the bracket as this was tournament organizer Alexander Neumann’s first time running a tournament, and things were further complicated by two late entries. Once play started however, things ran smoothly and the competition was fierce.
The final was a particularly close affair. As Pattison, had reached the final as the only participant yet to lose a match, Morigami would have to beat him in two matches in a row to win the title. Morigami won the first match two games to zero, and also managed to take the first game of the second match before Pattison overturned a 3-0 deficit in game two to win 11-8.
The decisive game three was a roller coaster of a contest, with Morigami holding a 10-6 lead before Pattison scored four straight points to send the game to deuce. Pattison finally gained the two-point separation required several minutes later, winning by a score of 15-13.
After winning the title, Pattison praised his competitors and the sport.
“The best part about the sport is the people. I mean look at these guys,” he said, pointing to all the participants who stayed to watch the final, “they’re still here, still with it […] this sport has made so many good things happen to me. I’ve been able to travel all over the world. I’m so happy that [table tennis] let me find this community.”
Indeed, this sport has let Pattison travel all over. He is heading to Las Vegas later this year to compete in the U.S. Open where he is the reigning wheelchair division champion, and later this summer he will be traveling throughout Spain, Romania, Thailand and South Korea to represent the USA in various tournaments. And that is why Pattison loves this sport so much – it lets him compete with the best. Table tennis “doesn’t favor the naturally strong. It favors those who put the time in,” he said.
Third place in the tournament went to Kwok Chi R. Tsang and fourth was taken by Shu Chen.