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Canada's Club Réflexe Dominates at the Westchester Table Tennis Open

by Warren Rosenberg, MetroSports Magazine - January 4, 2024


They arrived in Westchester County, NY, after a six hour drive from Montreal, Canada. Traveling in a caravan of three cars were eight young athletes from the Réflexe Table Tennis Club in the city of Laval. Accompanying them were five parents and their coach, coming to compete in the Westchester Table Tennis Center’s December 2023 Open.


They joined over 200 other athletes in what has become one of North America's premier table tennis competitions. It's the only monthly 4-star USATT-sanctioned tournament and awards more money ($8,000 a month) than any other club. In addition to the Réflexe Table Tennis Club's team, the Tournament also included both nationally-ranked competitors and others from outside the U.S.


Above: Club Réflexe team member Léa Gaudimier, one of the Tournament Champions, in action at the December 2023 Westchester Open.


Ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old, these competitors from Club Réflexe “up north” took home five 1st place Championship trophies and three 2nd place trophies along with cash awards.


Testing their athletic stamina and mental resolve, these athletes competed in as many as 18 games in one day as they worked their way through preliminary elimination matches, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and Championship final matches.


Making up the team from Club Réflexe were:


Yohan Ouellet, pictured below : 12 years old and Tournament Champion in the 12 and Under Division and 2nd Place finisher in the Under 2000 Division.



François-Xavier Morin, pictured below : 14 years old and Tournament Champion in the Under 1750 Division.


 

Léa Gaudimier : 15 years old and Tournament Champion in the Under 1900 Division where she faced off against Club Reflexe teammate Nelina Murdanaigum.



 Maélie Ouellet, pictured below : 16 years old and Tournament Champion in the Under 850 Division.



Charles Antoine Morin, pictured below : 17 years old



Nelina Murdanaigum, pictured below : 17 years old and 2nd Place finisher in both the Under 2050 and Under 1900 Divisions.



Samuel Awad, pictured below at right: 17 years old and Tournament Champion in the Handicap Division where he faced off against teammate Léa Gaudimier in the Finals.



Julien Roy, pictured below: 18 years old



Of course, none of the team's success would happen without the support of their families and excellent coaching provided by Afif Charara, pictured below, who was named Canadian Coach of the Year this past July and also serves as one of the Provincial coaches with Team Quebec. Also supporting the team were the City of Laval, Sports Laval, Les Aliments Yamada, and the City of St-Eustache.


Because of the hectic competition schedule, the long drive back-and-forth, and the upcoming New Year holiday, only one of the players got to experience a side trip into New York City. Perhaps if the team returns for the July 2024 tournament, Charles and Julien will capture their trophies and the team can take in more of the sites of the lower Hudson Valley and NYC.


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