Stratford ping pong star Gavin Rumgay believes it was right decision to alter championship plans
- Credit: Matchroom Sport
While the World Championship of Ping Pong, which was supposed to take place on the weekend of January 23 and 24 at Alexandra Palace, has been put on hold Matchroom Sport launch an invitation-type tournament featuring some of the world's best hardbat players.
They include Stratford's Gavin Rumgay.
Ping Pong sadly had to close its doors to the public at its traditional Wood Green home to set up a much safer secure 'bubble' environment at the much-troubled Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the inaugural World Ping Pong Masters.
Andrew Baggaley, the world number one from Milton Keynes and former English table tennis champion, who twelve months ago at Ally Pally claimed his fourth world; Russia's three-time WCPP champion 'Magic' Maxim Shmyrev; last year's WCPP beaten finalist from Germany Alexander 'Flash' Flemming; dangerous floater Chris Doran; top young English prospect Ethan Walsh; Denmark's Benjamin Sorensen; Ulsterman Paul McCreery; Spain's Javier Benito-Rodriguez and twice German female doubles table tennis winner Sabine Winter join Scottish-born Rumgay in a £75,000 24-player field straight knockout tournament with all last sixteen matches played to best of five sets.
Current world number 7 ping pong player Rumgay, 35, is the 14-time Scottish table tennis champion and has given a massive thumbs-up to Matchroom supremo Barry Hearn's latest ping ping venture which he hopes will be a regular event on the calendar.
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"I say 64 players with 64 coaches is too many but 24 players with 24 coaches I think is just about right," he said.
"What's more important financially, is there's a tournament with a little bit more money and that's good for all the players. Twenty-four players in the field, I like that. It's safer as well.
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"In the tournament there is probably anyone from eight players can win it so if you've got a field of 24 I think that's fair to the players just a little bit lower down as well that they have a crack at some of the top players.
"The Masters Snooker has got it right with being an elite field of 16 so hopefully in future years Matchroom Sport will do the same.
"This tournament in Coventry is like the snooker that happened last week. Hopefully I won't do a Judd Trump and test positive!"
"The Rumdog", who at last year's World Championship lost to Flemming in the last four, believes the players are already used to trading shots with each other in a behind-closed-doors environment.
"You do all your practice sessions in front of no crowd," he continues.
"It's just usually what I'm able to do then is if there is a crowd I'll raise my game by another two percent which is the difference of between winning 15-14 and losing 15-14. So I don't know. I hope having no crowd won't make too much of a difference."