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April 8, 2013
Player from Pakistan Puts Wichita State on National Stage
Wichita State’s basketball team shocked the nation by earning a spot in the NCAA’s Final 4 in Atlanta. The Missouri Valley Conference hoops runner-up is the Cinderella story on the hardwood.
At the same time, there’s a solid Wichita State Shockers table tennis player from Pakistan trying to make some noise at the NCTTA’s National Championships in Rockford, Illinois in mid-April.
Meet Haider Ali Malhi. The native of Pakistan is a 20-year-old Wichita State graduate student who is passionate about table tennis, and serves with the Cultural Ambassador Program to represent his nation on and off campus. He also enjoys playing cricket and is signed up to play in a cricket tournament in late April.
Kansas is thousands of miles away from Pakistan, a country of 180 million people (6th biggest in the world) that sits in South Asia. Its neighbors include India, Afghanistan, Iran and China. Pakistan, with its capital city in Islamabad, also borders the Arabian Sea.
Haider chose Wichita State because he had an uncle living in the city in the Midwest. Things have worked out. Seeking a master’s in computer networking at Wichita State, he quickly plunged into his studies and didn’t discover WSU had a table tennis team for nearly one year.
With plenty of experience under his belt playing table tennis tournaments in Pakistan, Malhi meshed with the WSU team and improved quite a bit over the next 18 months.
“I came in as 1500 (his rating) and I want to be 2000 before the year ends,” Malhi said. He’s listed among the top 75 men’s singles players in the National Championships.
Next year will be his last one playing collegiate table tennis, and he wants to finish strong.
It’s interesting how things got started for Haider with this Olympic sport. “My parents never supported sports my whole life and I used to sneak out and lie about group study sessions to play table tennis. I have played on the floor, with only a racket that was really shaped wooden stuff and played on cement tables.”
Playing the sport these days at Wichita State reminds him of “my childhood and all the good times I had.”
Now, Malhi is anxious to see what his game brings to the table in Rockford, 60 miles from Chicago.
“I can’t wait to go to Rockford and pull off some upsets,” says Malhi, who grew up in the industrial town of Faisalabad.
Away from table tennis, Malhi is on track to earn his diploma and become a computer networking engineer, perhaps at a hospital or another business. He also works for Cisco. The company is paying for his master’s degree at Wichita State.
The 2013 College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and is one of the most competitive table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams. The event is sponsored by Newgy Industries, Butterfly, PR etc. Rockford Table Tennis Club, Fitzgerald Equipment, Rockford Park District
Full list of participants and seeds: http://www.nctta.org/champs/2013/news.html
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the 2013 College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues to Sunday April 14th at the Forrest Tennis Center in Rockford, Illinois.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America. www.nctta.org
About USA Table Tennis
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). www.usatt.org