DUNMORE, Pa. — The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association's Pennsylvania Division Tournament will take place at 10 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 21, at University Park in the Intramural Building, and Penn State Worthington Scranton's Asif ud-Doula, associate professor of physics, played a key role in making it happen.
A well-known table-tennis enthusiast, ud-Doula was an organizer of the event, which is bringing together competitors from Pillar College, Rowan University, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and Penn State.
In addition to his teaching duties at PSWS, ud-Doula also volunteers as the Pennsylvania division director for the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (nctta.org), helping to organize table tennis tournaments for colleges across the United States and Canada.
This is not the first time ud-Doula has worked to organize a divisional tournament in State College, having been doing so for the past few years. However, this spring's event is particularly interesting for two reasons:
1. Typically, Penn State dominates the divisional tournaments, but this year the University of Pennsylvania has a stronger team and defeated Penn State in the fall tournament in Philadelphia.
2. Pillar College, a newcomer, is bringing several high-caliber players that are not usually seen at this stage:
— A two-time U.S. Olympian, USA Table Tennis National Coach, and Hall of Fame Inductee, Lily Yip (www.teamusa.org/usa-table-tennis/athletes/Lily-Yip)
— Former national player of New Zealand, Matt Hetherington (www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Features/2016/August/03/Matt-Hetherington-Appointed-to-Digital-and-Social-Media-Position-at-USA-Table-Tennis)
— Member of the 2016 Olympic Team, Timothy Wang (www.teamusa.org/usa-table-tennis/athletes/Timothy-Wang)
The efforts of ud-Doula are not limited to just organizing tournaments. He was instrumental in starting a table tennis team at Penn State Worthington Scranton a few years ago. Since its formation, the team has participated in several tournaments, even taking third place in the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association's 2015 fall tournament in Philadelphia.