All the World is on Stage at Florida Senior Games
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The first of two days of 2019 Florida Senior Games presented by Humana Table Tennis at the Broward Table Tennis Club featured a wide variety of cultures playing the game that is held in high regard around the world for its speed, reaction time and agility.
In one of the more competitive divisions of the 50-69 age groups in action on Monday, Susie Tran, from Melbourne, and Nelson Ngo, from Orlando, won the Mixed Doubles 60-64 age group winning four of their five round robin format games.
Tran and Ngo’s four wins came in three-game sweeps of five game matches and their fourth was a four-game win. Their only loss was in three games, all by scores of 11-9 to Debra Curtis and Gordon Weinblatt, of The Villages.
Tran and Ngo, both originally from Vietnam, fled the country after the Vietnam War. Tran left in April of 1975 and relocated to the U.S. living with her sister in North Carolina until 1977.
“My sister and her husband lived in a normal-sized house, but there were so many of us that came to live with her, we had to camp out in the yard for a short time until we found places to live,” Tran said.
She then moved to Orlando and earned a degree from then Valencia Community College in 1979. She has lived in Melbourne since 1987, where she is a Real Estate broker.
Ngo has a similar story, leaving Vietnam in 1977 for China and relocating to San Jose, California in 1979. He moved to Orlando in 2011 and works at Collins Aerospace and provides table tennis lessons to young players at no cost. He began playing table tennis at his school in China where a table was available.
The 2019 Florida Senior Games are the first for Tran and the second appearance for Ngo, who won a pair of silver medals at the 2018 Games.
Adding a European flair to the Games was Derek Lundie, who won his third consecutive gold medal in the Men’s Singles 60-64 age group. The retired dentist and his wife, Sandra, split time between Winter Garden and Hamilton, Scotland, a town 12 miles southeast of Glasgow.
When not winning Florida Senior Games medals, Lundie keeps in practice at European Veteran’s Tournaments, which is the equivalent of Senior Games competitions in the U.S. He competed in the 2019 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary and plans to play in a 2020 Championship in France.
“The European Championships draw as much as 4,000 players and just as many spectators,” he said. “Table tennis is very popular in Europe and in Germany it’s the second largest sport behind soccer.”
While this is only Lundie’s third Florida Senior Games since 2017, he has played in a table tennis tournament in each of the last 47 years. “I started playing when I was 15,” he said.
Lundie was undefeated in five matches in the Men’s Singles 60-64 age group with none of his wins stretching into a five-game match. He defeated Gordon Weinblatt, of The Villages, in the championship match for the gold medal.
Day five of the 10-day competition sees a return to the final day of Table Tennis with the 70 and above age group and kicks off the Tennis championships that run through Sunday, December 15. All events of the 2019 Florida Senior Games are free and the public is encouraged to attend.
Tuesday, December 10 – Schedule of Events
Tennis: Cypress Park Tennis Center | 8 a.m.
Table Tennis (70+ and up age groups): Broward County Table Tennis Club | 9 a.m.
The 2019 Florida Senior Games is an annual program of the Florida Sports Foundation, presented in conjunction with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.
For the latest information on the 2019 Games, visit our website: http://www.FloridaSeniorGames.com. Follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily images and reports highlighting the 2019 Games.
About the Florida Senior Games presented by Humana
The Florida Senior Games presented by Humana are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Foundation works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide.
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