Former Malaysian World Team Member Captures Decatur Open Title

DECATUR, AL. -- Tai Long Tey used his strong offense to outlast the field of the 71 players to win the 11th annual Decatur Open Table Tennis Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 17. He defeated former Jamaican National champion Keith Evans of Atlanta 4-0 in the finals. It was Long's third Decatur Open crown.
For the 26-year-old Long, a graduate student at the University of Memphis, the win earned him $250 and a gold table tennis tie tack. Long, a former member of the Malaysian World Team, has been a finalist in the tournament for the past five years. His two losses came in 1999 to U.S. Olympian Amy Feng and 2001 to U.S. Olympian Sean O'Neill.
Long advanced through the playoffs defeating Lock Sourinthone of Nashville in the quarterfinals and 2200 Korean Bok Nam Kim of Atlanta in the semis. Meanwhile, Evans ousted Richard McAfee of Atlanta in the quarterfinals and Soon Chian Lim of Memphis in the semis to earn $125. Other quarterfinalists were Terry Hamilton of Birmingham and Ernesto Kawamoto of Huntsville. Semifinalists won $50 and quarterfinalists $30.
Tommie Dailey of Birmingham took home the Class AA crown defeating Dinh Le of Memphis in the semis and Justin Davis of Decatur, Ala., in the finals. Davis advanced to the finals by downing Carl Lewis of Memphis in the semis.
The nation's No. 2 U-12 player, Shelby Lane of Memphis, claimed the Class A title. He defeated Arthur Grundy Jr. of Memphis in the semis and Charles Collins of Chattanooga in the finals. Collins edged Scott Lane of Memphis in the other semis.
In Class BBB, Venezuelan Carlos Villanueva Jr. of Atlanta defeated Jim Norris of Hartselle, Ala., in the finals. Villanueva eliminated Paul Holliger of Louisville, Ky., in the semis while Norris ousted An Sang Hee of Atlanta.
Alice Tym of McDonald, Tenn., wore the Class BB crown home. She slipped past Robert McNeal of Fairfield, Ala., in the finals. Tym beat Sam Gennoe of Hixson, Tenn., in the semis and McNeal beat Birmingham's Travis Beach in the other semis.
Billy Stroups of Mobile won Class B. Nashville's Robert Jordan was second. Emma Veliz of Baton Rouge, La. and Eric Hopkensmith of Abbeville, Ala., were semifinalists.
Each tournament player received a t-shirt designed by Ashley Kite of Dothan, Ala., a pizza and Pepsi lunch and a number of door prizes by the tournament sponsors.
The sold-out round-robin tournament attracted players from nine states.
Decatur all-star shortstop Will Kerby, 12, drew the names for the door prizes.
Nolan Lang, owner of Lang's Sporting Goods, a major sponsor, visited the tournament throughout the day and watched his son Jordan participate in his first USATT-sanctioned event.
The North Alabama Table Tennis Club and Decatur Parks and Recreation were the tournament hosts. Directors were Walt Chenault and Michael Wetzel. Committee members were Fred Mitchell II, Eddie Landry, Dick Cloyd, Ernesto Kawamoto, Don Johnson, Charles Collins, Danya Budiman, Marshall Young, Morgan Tang and Aquadome Recreation Center staff members.
Tournament players and guests enjoyed a post-tournament dinner at Formosa Restaurant of Decatur.
Sponsors of the USATT-sanctioned tournament were Pepsi, The Decatur Daily, SignFX, Lang's Sporting Goods, Robbins Table Tennis Specialties, Formosa Restaurant, BumperNets of Birmingham, The Trophy Place, Commercial Images Photographic Services, Audio Video Specialists, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Microtel Inn and Suites and SouthTrust Bank.
Scott Theissen of WHNT-48-NBC-TV of Huntsville, The Decatur Daily and Birmingham News provided media coverage of the tournament.
Tournament notes:
*Eleven-year-old Carlos Villanueva Jr. and his family recently moved to Atlanta from Valencia, Venezuela. The unrated junior won several junior titles in South America before capturing the Class BBB title in Decatur.
*Ten-year-old Shelby Lane of Memphis continues to make progress at the table. He won Class A. Ranked No. 2 in the US in the U-12 boys division, Shelby knocked off 1900 and 3-time Alabama champion Ralph Kissel of Huntsville in five games in the morning preliminaries. Shelby also was featured in a color photo in the Decatur Daily in the post-tournament coverage.
*With generous sponsors Pepsi Cola and the Decatur Daily, the 2-star Decatur Open has GIVEN AWAY more than 650 table tennis shirts in the past seven years.
*Robbins Table Tennis Specialties ( provided more than 20 door prizes and the official tournament ball white 3-star TSP. Robbins has been a major sponsor of the tournament since 1996.
*Major sponsor SignFx, a Decatur sign company, provided nine customized barriers featuring the logos of the other sponsors.
*A portion of the proceeds of the tournament will go to charity. In 2001, The North Alabama Table Tennis Club gave $125 to the American Red Cross after the Sept. 11 tragedies. Earlier this year, the NATTC gave the USA Paralympic Team $50 to help with their World Championship tournament expenses.