Gymnasium at Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center

LRTTC USATT-Sanctioned 2-Star Tournament
Winter 2019 Giant Round Robin
Saturday, January 12, 2019

Thank You to Our Sponsors:  Arkansas Table Tennis Academy & Paddle Palace & Little Rock Parks and Recreation


For sponsorship inquires or entry questions, email LRTTC at

Tournament Report by Mike Lauro

January 18, 2019

USATT also publicized this report on their website and in their Insider Newsletter with the help of Sean O'Neill of Paddle Palace and Matt Heatherington of USATT.

The Little Rock Table Tennis Club is excited to provide this tournament report for 2019 LRTTC Winter Giant Round Robin Tournament.

First, thanks go to our two sponsors, Paddle Palace and the Arkansas Table Tennis Academy.  Paddle Palace ( provided the Nittaku 3-star premium tournament balls and PaddlePalace banners.  They have also worked with our club over the last several years to upgrade all of our tables to the Donic Waldner Classic 25.  We are proud of our relationship with Paddle Palace and hope to continue supporting each other throughout the new year. The newly established Arkansas Table Tennis Academy (, owned by Mike Lauro, Jr., USATT National and ITTF Level 3 Coach and 2018 Volunteer Coach of the Year, provided 2 additional Donic Waldner Classic 25 tables and some of the prize money for the tournament.

We also owe a huge THANK YOU to Eugene Atha, a certified referee and umpire, who has been at the helm of many tournaments in Arkansas over the past 30 years.  Eugene handled all of the draws, many of the tournament day control desk responsibilities, and helped to move tables across town the days before and afters the tournament.  His tireless hard work, dedication, and wisdom as the tournament director made this tournament shine.  Thanks Eugene!

The board of directors for the Little Rock Table Tennis Club, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit, includes myself, Jeff Pratt (who also served as tournament umpire), Kedar Jambhekar, Charlie Brooks, and Olaf Hoerschelmann,  All of us enjoyed volunteering our time to help with setup before and take down after the tournament.  This group is responsible for the day to day activities of the club and we've enjoyed seeing many of the positive changes with the club over the years.  We are also very excited about hosting a USA Hopes camp and qualifying tournament at our club on February 22-24, 2019.  We want to welcome any youth players around the country to come join our camp and enjoy a wonderful table tennis experience.  Please visit our club website for details on the February 22-24 USA Hopes Camp in Little Rock.

We would also like to LRTTC members who volunteered their time and money to help with various tournament tasks.  Mark Taylor and Mohan Reddy planned and donated money to purchase the food and sports drinks for everyone at the tournament.  Many members helped with setting up tables, covering the windows with tarps, assembling barriers, and storing everything after the tournament was over.  Thank you Jeff Pratt, Olaf Hoerschelmann, Charlie Brooks, Kedar Jambhekar, Siva Soora, Darius Ford, Louis Vance, Kitt Oudthone, Tanner Cook, and Vasu Bharadwaj.  Apologies if we missed anyone.  Thanks to everyone who pitched in for this tournament.

The tournament was the second USATT-sanctioned tournament at LRTTC since our first one back in the spring of 2014.  The 2014 tournament was a 0-star tournament while our tournament this year was a 2-star tournament. The 2014 event was held at our previous location before the club moved to its current location at the Jim Dailey Fitness & Aquatic Center in the fall of 2015.

During our time at the Dailey Fitness Center, the club has benefited from a mutually beneficial relationship with Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department.  Little Rock Parks has worked with us over the last several years to to expand the number of days and times that we are able to play per week. Now we have playing opportunities every day of the week.  We have been able to reserve the gymnasium for our larger events, including our annual Friends of India tournaments which are always popular. For future tournaments, we hope to bring in more sponsors to benefit LRTTC, Little Rock Parks and the community.

This tournament included a singles giant round robin event with a field of 29 players, and 2 doubles events.  The Over 3200 Doubles consisted of 5 teams in a single elimination format. The Under 3200 with 4 teams was a round robin format.  In singles all players advanced from the initial stage to the second stage consisting of two groups in each division for A, B, C, and D.  The top 2 players in each group advanced to a crossover semi-final for their division.

Liedy Handoko from Cordova, TN was a finalist in the LRTTC 2014 Giant Round Robin tournament.  This year he returned to the finals, but was unable to overcome the play of Ricardo Criado, a former national team member of Puerto Rico.  Criado said of his experience at the tournament, “It was so much fun to play again after not having played tournaments in a long time. I was fortunate to make it to the finals and compete against Liedy.  I had to play my best against him. He’s very smart and is a master of defense. Fortunately, my coach in Puerto Rico was a chopper, so I’ve had many hours of training against defensive players. My training partner Mike Lauro and I had a few recent practice sessions at his new Arkansas Table Tennis Academy.  He also plays a defensive style with long pips, and we had some intense practice sessions. This really helped me play against Mike in the semifinals and to overcome Liedy in the finals. I’m looking forward to playing more table tennis.” Liedy Handoko is also a 4-time Arkansas Open champion from 2008 through 2011.  He and his teammates from the Memphis area area have always been great supporters of our tournaments here in Little Rock over the years.

Video (Live streamed on Facebook): Division A Finals: Ricky Criado (AR, blue shirt) v. Liedy Handoko (TN, black shirt)


Division B semi-finals consisted of players from 4 different regions:  Perry Smith (Holly Springs, MS), Vasu Bharadwaj (Little Rock, AR), Jason Piech (Rogers, AR), and Varun Coona (Memphis, TN).  Jason and Perry advanced to the finals, with Jason winning in 3 close games at 9, 8, and 11 to position himself as the Division B champion.  Congratulations to Jason Piech and to Perry Smith!

Division C semi-finals saw lefty Alex Piech in field with 3 other players from Central Arkansas.  In one semi-final, Darius Ford and John Falco battled it out to the 5th set. Darius lost the first and third games 8-11, but won the 2nd game 16-14 and the 4th game 11-9.  Darius edged out John in the 5th game 11-9. In the other semi-final, Alex Piech got behind early, losing the first game to Olaf Hoerschelmann. Alex rallied to win the next 3 games to advance to the final against Darius.  In an effort that would not disappoint, Alex and Darius fought through another 5 game match. Alex won the first game, Darius the second, Alex the third, and Darius the fourth. The final game saw Alex surpass Darius 12-10 to claim the Division C championship.

Division D semi-finals consisted of three new players, Emanuel Horvat, Manikandan Kuppusamy, and Vignesh Ramesh, compete in their first USATT sanctioned tournament.  The other semi-finalist David Willard was competing in his second sanctioned tournament. In the first semi-final, David defeated Emanuel 3-0, while in the other semi-final Manikandan defeated Vignesh 3-0.  Manikandan claimed the Division D championship with a 3-0 victory over David. Emanuel came in 3rd and Vignesh 4th.

After the singles competition concluded, the two doubles events took place.

The Over 3200 kicked off with a preliminary match between Kedar Jambhekar and Mike Harris against Vasu Bharadwaj and Siva Soora.  Vasu and Siva dropped the first 2 games at -10 and -9. Not be dealt a defeat this day, they rallied winning the next 2 sets at 7 and 4.  The 5th set could have gone either way, but Vasu and Siva stayed the course and fought hard to win 18-16! They advanced to the semifinal, but lost to the eventual champions Liedy Handoko and Raj Coona, both from Tennessee.

Video (Live streamed on Facebook): Over 3200 Doubles Final between Jason Piech & Mike Lauro (near court) and Liedy Handoko & Raj Coona (far court)

In the other half of the draw, brothers Alex Piech and Jason Piech had a showdown.  Each brother chose an older partner allowing for the best lefty-righty combination hoping it would bring success.  Lefty Alex teamed up with Division A singles champion righty Ricardo Criado, while righty Jason teamed up with Division A 3rd place finisher lefty Mike Lauro.  Mike and Jason fended off Alex and Ricky but were unable to take a set from the eventual champions Liedy and Raj.

The Under 3200 was a round robin format.  The deciding match came down to the last matchup between top 2 seeded teams:  Kitt Oudthone and Louis Vance against Charlie Brooks and Tanner Cook. Both teams had won their previous matches.  Kitt Oudthone and Louis Vance won the first set, dropped the next 2, and then won the 4th set to even the score. The fifth and final game was full of suspense and excitement, with Kitt and Louis claiming victory with a win of 15-13.

After the tournament, we caught up with the Piech brothers.  Jason Piech, 12, said, "for the last three years I've been playing in tournaments in Little Rock, and every tournament is great.  I've been lucky to have some amazing partners for doubles. I'm so excited that a USA Hopes camp and tournament will be in my home state of Arkansas!  I'm practicing now and looking forward to it." Alex, 9, shared this thoughts, "Little Rock has some of my favorite players. They call us the Piech assassins.  I've learned a lot about great sportsmanship from the players there."

Another junior player who is new to the sport, Aaron Tran, participated in his first USATT sanctioned tournament.  He and his mom Sara Tran have recently started practicing at the newly established Arkansas Table Tennis Academy founded by Mike Lauro.  When asked about his first tournament, Aaron said "There were so many levels of players. It was a wonderful experience for a beginner. This was an eye opening experience and a key driver for my commitment."

Many of the players commented that they were impressed by the high quality of the playing conditions, including the bright lights, wood flooring, Donic tables and the Nittaku 3-star premium balls.  Jeff Pratt, an LRTTC board member and tournament official, added, "At LRTTC, we really like these Donic tables from Paddle Palace. For our regular monthly tournaments and our bigger community and sanctioned tournaments, we use the Nittaku 3-star premium plastic balls because of their superior quality and consistent bounce.  The playing conditions at the Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center are ideal for table tennis." Charlie Brooks, a veteran LRTTC player, emphasizes "the Nittaku balls are used in other sanctioned tournaments in this region, and we've come to expect a high quality ball for competitive play. The 3-star premium balls by Nittaku are second to none."

During the lunch break, the Piech brothers and their parents Bill and Sharon, surprised Mike Lauro with a special (and gigantic!) cake decorated to resemble a table tennis table with paddles and balls to celebrate Mike's achievement of being selected as the 2018 USATT Volunteer Coach of the Year.   Sharon Piech told Mike "when we saw your name in the USATT announcement, we knew it was a special occasion that deserved a fantastic cake!" Mike explained, "the cake was so thoughtful and kind, it totally surprised me! The experience was unforgettable. We have amazing people in Arkansas who love table tennis and care about one another, and no one exemplifies that more than the Piech family."

Finally, we'd like to thank USA Table Tennis for continuing to support the sport we love and to all the players, tournament officials, and volunteers without whose dedication this tournament would not have been possible.  See you all at our next tournament!

Results - Singles

Division A

Champion:  Ricardo Criado (Jacksonville, AR)

Finalist:  Liedy Handoko (Cordova, TN)

3rd Place:  Mike Lauro (Little Rock, AR)

4th Place:  Mike Harris (Alexandria, AL)

Division B

Champion:  Jason Piech (Rogers, AR)

Finalist:  Perry Smith (Holly Springs, MS)

3rd Place:  Vasu Bharadwaj (Little Rock, AR)

4th Place:  Varun Coona (Memphis, TN)

Division C

Champion:  Alex Piech (Rogers, AR)

Finalist:  Darius Ford (Little Rock, AR)

3rd Place:  John Falco (Benton, AR)

4th Place:  Olaf Hoerschelmann (Little Rock, AR)

Division D

Champion:  Mani Kuppusamy (Fort Smith, AR)

Finalist:  David Willard (Belleville, AR)

3rd Place:  Emanuel Horvat (Russellville, AR)

4th Place:  Vignesh Ramesh (Bentonville, AR)

Results - Doubles

Over 3200 (5 teams, single elimination)

Champions:  Liedy Handoko and Raj Coona (TN)

Finalist:  Mike Lauro and Jason Piech (AR)

Under 3200 (4 teams, round robin)

Champions:  Kitt Oudthone and Louis Vance (AR)

Finalist:  Charlie Brooks and Tanner Cook (AR)

We had participants from 4 states and 18 cities.  Four players were under 18 and at least 3 players were members of the military.

We had 12 matches that ended in 5th-game showdowns!

Alex Piech over Darius Ford in the Division C Finals 12-10.
Mike Lauro over Martin Johnson in the Division A RR 11-9.
Vasu over Varun Coona in Division B 3rd Place match, 11-9.
Charlie Brooks over Kitt Oudthone in the Division C RR 15-13.
Darius Ford over John Falco in Division C Semifinal 11-9.
Alex Piech over Darius Ford in Division C Final 12-10.
John Falco over Olaf Hoerschelmann in Division C 3rd Place 11-6.
Jason Piech over Olaf Hoerschelmann in ABCD RR 11-9.
Olaf Hoerschelmann over Mani Kuppusamy in ABCD RR 11-5.
Varun Coona over Darius Ford in ABCD RR 11-8.
Vasu and Siva over Kedar and Mike H. in Over 3200 doubles, 18-16.
Kitt and Louis over Tanner and Charlie in Under 3200 doubles, 15-13. 

Original Tournament Announcement:

Over $1,000 in Prize Money - 1st-2nd in all Singles and Doubles Divisions

Scroll down for list of current participants

Tournament Location:  Jim Dailey Fitness & Aquatic Center, 300 South Monroe St., Little Rock, AR  72204.
Equipment:  USATT/ITTF approved, white Nittaku 3-Star Premium balls.  Gymnasium has wood flooring, high ceilings, and fluorescent lighting.
Singles Format :  Three phase round robin with A-D divisions. Preliminary round robin groups will be played to determine singles divisions. The top finisher in each round robin group will advance to the A group, second place finisher will advance to the B group, etc (all players play phases one and two). Second phase will feature two round robin groups in each division. In the final phase, the single knock out round will be used with cross over matches, then winners meet for finals and losers meet for 3-4 placement.
Doubles Format:  After the Singles competition is finished, there will be a doubles tournament consisting of 2 divisions, Under 3200 and Over 3200.  Format will be single elimination but may be changed based on number of entries.  Singles players pay an additional $3 entry fee to play doubles.  Doubles-only teams pay $30 per team.  A doubles-only player pays $15 if they play with a Singles player.  Limited to first 8 teams in each division to register.

Awards:  $1,160 in Total Prize Money
Prize money is awarded for 1st and 2nd place in ALL Singles and Doubles divisions
Singles Division A -- 1st: $300, 2nd: $200
Singles Division B -- 1st: $150, 2nd: $100
Singles Division C -- 1st: $70, 2nd: $50
Singles Division D -- 1st: $30, 2nd: $25
Doubles Over 3200 & Under 3200 -- 1st: $80/team, 2nd: $40/team
Amount of any cash prize is subject to cancellation/or adjustment in the event of insufficient entries.  Commemorative tournament certificates will be awarded to 1st-4th place finishers in all singles divisions and to 1st-2nd in both doubles events.
Matches must be played for prizes to be awarded.
Entries are limited to first 32 entries for singles and first 8 teams in each doubles division
Deadline:  Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.
Late Fee:  $10 late/unpaid fee after deadline.
To Enter:  Download, print and complete the Entry Form.  Mail your completed entry form along with your check or money order payable to "LRTTC" to:
PO BOX 250260
Little Rock, AR 72225
Current Participants List:
Singles Entries: 27
Doubles Teams, Over 3200:  4
Doubles Teams, Under 3200:  4
# Last Name First Name City State Rating Owes Entry USATT Membership

Late Fee

Comments Singles Doubles
1  Criado  Ricardo Jacksonville AR 2334 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 1  O3200 - Alex Piech
2  Handoko  Liedy Cordova TN 2165 $0 $43 $210  $0 Entry form + Paid  2  Needs Partner
3  Lauro  Mike Little Rock AR 2083 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 3  O3200 - Jason Piech
4  Soora  Siva Little Rock AR 1782 $0 $15 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid No  O3200 - Vasu
5  Coona  Dharmaraj Memphis TN 1779 $0 $40 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 4  Not Playing
6  Harris  Mike Alexandria  AL 1751 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid  Needs Partner of similar rating
7  Coona  Varun Memphis TN 1742 $0 $40 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 6   Not Playing
8  Jambhekar  Kedar Little Rock AR 1694 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form  + Paid 7  O3200 - Needs Partner
9  Johnson  Martin Rogers AR 1647 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 8  Needs partner
10  Smith  Perry Holly Springs MS 1642 $0 $40 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 9  Not playing
11  Piech  Jason Rogers AR 1632 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 10  O3200 - Mike Lauro
12  Bharadwaj  Vasuki Little Rock AR est. 1600 $0 $43 $20 $0

Entry Form + Paid

11  O3200 - Siva Soora
13  Cook  Tanner  White Hall AR 1564 $0 $15 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid No  U3200 - Charlie Brooks
14  Phillips  Ben Pine Bluff AR 1549 $0 $40 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 12  Not playing
15  Falco  John Benton AR 1528 $0 $40 $75 $0 Entry Form + Paid 13  Needs a parter
16  Vance  Louis Jacksonville AR 1525 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 14  U3200 - Kit Oudthone
17  Pratt  Jeff Little Rock AR 1514 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 15  U3200 - David Willard
18  Piech  Alex Rogers AR 1454 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 16  O3200 - Ricky Criado
19  Oudthone  Kitt Ward AR 1353 $0 $43 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 17  U3200 - Louis Vance
20  Hoerschelmann  Olaf Little Rock AR 1253 $0 $40 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 18  Not Playing
21  Brooks  Charlie Sheridan AR 1178 $0 $43 $0 $0 Entry Form + Paid 19  U3200 - Tanner Cook
22  Willard  David Belleville AR 724 $0 $43 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 20  U3200 - Jeff Pratt
23  Ford  Darius Little Rock AR 701 $0 $40 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 21  Not Playing
24  Siebenmann  Zach Sherwood AR 668 $0 $60 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 22  Not Playing
25  Horvat  Emanuel Russellville AR UR $0 $40 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 23  Not Playing
26  Kuppusamy  Manikandan Fort Smith AR UR $0 $43 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 24  U3200 - Vignesh Ramesh
27  Ramesh  Vignesh Fort Smith AR UR $0 $43 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 25  U3200 - Manikandan Kuppusamy
28  Russell  Brian Conway AR UR $0 $43 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 26  Needs partner
29  Russell  Sam Conway AR UR $0 $43 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 27  Needs partner
30  Tran  Aaron Little Rock AR UR $0 $40 $45 $0 Entry Form + Paid 28  Not Playing
31  Washington  James Jacksonville AR UR $0 $40 $20 $0 Entry Form + Paid 29  Not Playing