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Students Serve Up Serious Competition in Pursuit of Ping Pong Glory

The Union Programming Board helps students connect with a tournament and prizes.
Emily Wheeler
Achintya Benegal (left) and Akerth Jain (right) play in the final round of the table tennis tournament.

  The Union Programming Board (UPB) hosted a ping pong tournament in a thrilling display of focus, agility and enthusiasm on Friday night. Twelve students participated in the bracket, all with their eyes on the prize.

  The tournament started with round one, hosting six one-on-one matchups. It was quickly determined which competitors were not prepared for such intense competition. While some matchups lasted nearly 15 minutes, others lasted a mere five. 

  “Some students really enjoy the sport,” said Michelle Wu, president of UPB. “They practice a lot.”  

  Led by students, UPB plans events on and off of the UMKC campus for students to attend. Wu said that the tournament was a good way for students with similar interests to meet. 

  Round two had an increased intensity in the atmosphere. Students displayed their lightning-fast reflexes or lack thereof. 

  Brandon Park, a student in the School of Medicine, managed to win his match while holding a conversation with a spectator. 

  Only three students remained for the final round of the tournament. Done round robin style, each competitor played each other. 

  Achintya Benegal, a student in the School of Medicine, and Akerth Jain, a biology major battled it out in the first matchup of the round. Benegal took time to warm up to Jain’s speed, but in the end, Benegal’s accuracy was enough to win the match. 

  In the second matchup of the final round, Park and Jain went head to head. Jain went into the round tired but played a consistent game. After a close battle, Park pulled out the win and headed to the final matchup. 

  In the final game of the tournament, Benegal and Park battled for first place. This was not the first time the two ping-pong powerhouses had played against each other. Benegal is the president of the Table Tennis Club, while Park is the vice president. 

  Benegal showcased his accuracy once again, while Park played a steady game. As the final points unfolded, Benegal took the win and became the tournament champion. 

  “My heart is racing,” Benegal said after his final win. The top three competitors received Kansas City Chiefs gear as their prize. 

  For more information about Table Tennis Club, email Achintya Benegal at [email protected].

[email protected]

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