17th annual Decatur Open
Decatur, Ala.
Aug. 16, 2008

By Michael Wetzel
DECATUR, AL -- Shigang "Alex" Yang is known at his club in Tennessee as "Coach Yang."

To opponents and spectators alike at the 17th annual Decatur Open, Yang dished out plenty of lessons.
Rated 2616, Yang of Brentwood, Tenn., had no trouble capturing the tournamentís title in his first opportunity.

Yang defeated 2412-rated junior Chance Friend of Plano, Texas, 4-0 in the finals. Yang didnít drop a game on his way to winning $300, a gold table tennis tie tack and trophy.
In his third Decatur tournament, Friend picked up $150 for second.
Yang defeated 1996 Decatur Open champion T.J. Beebe (2262) of Marietta, Ga., 3-0 in the semifinals while Friend beat Alabama singles champion David Landry of Huntsville 3-0 in the other semifinal match.

Landry (2097) reached the semifinals by upsetting the tournamentís third seed, John Mar (2265) of Lawrenceville, Ga., in the quarterfinals 3-2.

The 2008 field was the strongest in the tournamentís history. It attracted 10 players bringing in ratings of 2000 or higher. With the first 71 players entered (69 via mail and two by eBay auctions), the field was sold out in eight days after the entry form was posted online and mailed out.

Each participant received a T-shirt and Gatorade table tennis towel. All players and guests were treated to lunch compliments of Dominoís Pizza and Pepsi Cola. Also more than 30 door prizes were distributed to the players.

Helping make the tournament a success were the tournamentís 13 sponsors. They are Burningtree Country Club, Nucor Steel of Decatur, Pepsi Cola, Dominoís Pizza, Lane Music Co. of Memphis, Robbins Table Tennis Specialties, Hereís Your Sign Screenprinting, Microtel Inn and Suites, BumperNets of Birmingham, Decatur Parks and Recreation, Morgan Warehouse Pools and Spas, Jimmy Smith Jewelers and Awards and Engraving Plus.

The North Alabama Table Tennis Club hosted the tournament.
The tournament received advance and post-tournament publicity in The Decatur Daily newspaper.

Tournament committee members were referee Michael Wetzel, Chip Patton, Fred B. Mitchell II, Ernesto Kawamoto, Caralyn Patton and Logan Wetzel.

Shigang Yang d. Chance Friend 6,0,10,4
Yang d. T.J. Beebe 5,5,7
Cha. Friend d. David Landry 5,6,9
Yang d. Liedy Handoko 15,6,5
Beebe d. Slawomir Waclawik 6,3,3
Landry d. John Mar 6,-5,-5,8,5
Cha. Friend d. Adam Brown -6,8,2,5
Class AA:
Shelby Lane d. Kin Chan 6,8,3,4
Lane d. Chris Crider
Chan d. Andrew Davis
Class A:
Michael Harris d. Steven Jenkins -6,-13,8,-9,9,2,5
Harris d. Roddrick Harrell
Jenkins d. Barry Putman
Class BBB
Kui Zhang d. Hok Ming Li -9,6,6,8,8
Zhang d. Ed Watts
Ming d. Trevor Chan
Class BB:
Holt Gray d. Todd Friend 9,10,5,-8,8
Gray d. Collin Fullerton
T. Friend d. Spencer Friend
Class B:
Cheryl Friend d. Tripp White 1,5,8,3
Che. Friend d. Donnie Brown
T. White d. Mackenzie Friend.