The New York Metro Area's Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, NY, hosted the 6th stop on the 2016 the USA Table Tennis Over-40 All America National Tour and featuring competitors whose ages ranged into their 8th decade. Notable among them were two of USA Table Tennis' national treasures and Table Tennis Hall of Fame members George Braithwaite and David Sakai. The Westchester Table Tennis Center, owned by the New York Times crossword puzzle editor, Will Shortz, will host the Tour's Grand Final in December.
George Braithwaite, who claimed the 75-79 year old Championship at the tournament, holds a very important place, not only in American table tennis but in U.S.- China relations, as well. Braithwaite was a member of the United States Table Tennis Team when they visited China in April of 1971, one year prior to President Richard Nixon’s historic visit and the beginning of the normalization of U.S. - China relations. The team visited China at the invitation of the Chinese National Team and, during the visit, Braithwaite was captured in an iconic photograph shaking the hand of Chinese Premiere Zhou Enlai. Many believe the visit by Braithwaite and his teammates was a major step in setting the stage for Nixon’s visit. In August of 2012, Braithwaite joined former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at a ceremony commemorating the 1971 trip and the subsequent reciprocal visit to the U.S. by the Chinese National Team in 1972.
George Braithwaite is no stranger to the Westchester Table Tennis Center and can sometimes be seen competing in the Westchester Open Tournaments sponsored by the Center.
David Sakai, the tournament's 65-69 year old Champion, is a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame who partnered with George Braithwaite at the 1987 Miami Beach open to win that tournament's Over-40 Doubles Championship, the first of 6 he has captured since. Braithwaite and Sakai have teamed up over 50 times to compete in doubles tournaments and make quite a formidable pair.
Full results of the tournament can be found online at, http://www.westchestertabletennis.com/pages.asp?id=81