Local News

Table tennis swings into Cary

Posted March 20, 2009 11:03 p.m. EDT

— The Cary Table Tennis Association is hosting the 9th annual Butterfly Cary Cup Table Tennis Championship this weekend. The internationally-recognized event attracts athletes from the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.

Professional table tennis player Stefan Feth, of Germany, will be among the competitors. With endorsement deals and matches, Feth said he travels 200 days a year.

Feth is aware the sport doesn’t attract the biggest crowd.

“A lot of people are surprised ping pong can be a professional sport,” Feth said.

In the United States the concept of professional table tennis isn’t an easy concept to sell, Cary Table Tennis Association founder and president Mike Babuin said.

Babuin is trying to change that by taking the sport to a national stage. He created this weekend’s event – which boasts the largest round robin table tennis competition in the country. Nearly 280 players travel to Cary just to take a swing at winning more than $12,000 in total prize money.

“It is exciting. It is fast paced. It is an adrenaline rush to play table tennis,” Babuin said.

Babuin said these athletes are “prefect specimens of stamina, physical fitness and endurance.”

The tournament, held at Bond Park Community Center, continues through Sunday. Admission is free.