Alaskan Dave DeMay won gold in the “Under 1500 Hard Bat” title at the USA Table Tennis National Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to the Chugiak Eagle River Star.
DeMay was one of nearly 800 athletes nationwide competing in the tournament. He told the Star winning gold was “something you certainly don’t expect going (into it).” DeMay added that the competition is intense and he would have been satisfied advancing beyond the first round. “Each match was really close,” he said. “I never really expected to win any of.”
DeMay beat out Californian Roger Keely, 21-18, 14-21, 21-17, to win the hard-bat title.
Hard Bat table tennis is unlike modern table tennis. “It’s more of a strategy type game,” DeMay told the Star. “Moving people into different positions and trying to get them out of position.” Hard bat uses hard paddles that do not have sponge behind the rubber covering which, according to DeMay, decreases the ball’s speed and limits the amount of “spin” one can institute. Hard bat games, as a result, last longer then typical games of table tennis. “The points are longer,” DeMay added. “It’s like chess. You’ve got to work up to a future shot.”
The 57-year-old DeMay is from Eagle River, Alaska. He’s been plying table tennis since the late 1970s, but took a two decade long hiatus while serving in the military. Now he plays the game mostly "for fun."