Table Tennis beginnings
Kenny started playing table tennis when Eric was age 4. Eric frequently wanted to try and play but when given the racket he would try to smash the ball and completely miss it every time. When Kenny tried to persuade him to hit it slowly, Eric would not comply. So Kenny would take the racket away from him and told Eric to go watch his favorite movie, “Moon Raker” and Eric would go away crying saying “I want to play ping-pong”.
Since Eric raced motorcycles from age 5 it became somewhat of a worry for Kenny because of possible injury. When Eric was six years old he decided he wanted to learn to play ping pong. Kenny built a small table and started teaching Eric how to play and perform table tennis drills.
Eric would practice on his little table at home and he would go to Kenny and the local table tennis clubs and play on the big table with adults there. He made rapid improvement and Kenny entered him in the Texas State Junior Olympics championships where Eric won first place in the under 10 division which qualified him for US National Junior Olympics. Eric did attend the US National Junior Olympics and beat all of the nine-year-olds except one, and won the silver medal making him the youngest medalist and Junior Olympic history.
Eric then went on to win the US National Boys Championships under 10 division and the U.S. Open boys under 10 division. And the next year he won the national Junior Olympics under 10 gold medal.
At age 8 Eric made rapid progress in table tennis where he again won the U.S. Nationals, the U.S. Open boys under 10 and Junior Olympics. Additionally, he entered the US team championships representing Texas with Texas Junior champ and runner-up where they won the H division. Eric also won the under 18’s in a Houston area Chinese table tennis tournament surprising all of the Chinese participants. He also had his first major when against a skilled adult player.
At age 9 Kenny took Eric to the world championships in Gothenburg Sweden. He would go around and meet some of the top players and hit with them in the practice hall. Photos here include European superstar Grubba from Poland, the great Klampar from Hungary, and the World Champion Jiang Jialiang.