Kissimmee Table Tennis player claims gold medals in all three Florida Senior Games events
CLEARWATER – Hisae Senko, of Kissimmee, was the only table tennis athlete to climb to the top of the medal stand three times Monday at the Long Center. She was the lone player to win gold medals in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, winning all three in the 50-54 age group.
Monday featured the younger table tennis athletes of the Florida Senior Games, the 50-69 age groups, playing on 20 tables in the Long Center Sports Complex in Clearwater. The 70 and over age groups play Tuesday, beginning at 9:00 a.m. A total of 134 athletes registered for table tennis in the 2015 Games.
Joan Ruggiero, of Jacksonville, won her fourth gold medal in five years, winning the championship in the 65-69 age group for the first time. Ruggiero defeated Catharina Tjiook, a former Indonesian champion now living in The Villages, in the gold medal match. She lost the first game of the five-game set, but rebounded to win the next three.
The Newton brothers, Dwight and Damon, won a men’s doubles silver medal and Dwight defeated Damon in four games en route to a gold medal in the men’s singles 50-54 age group. Their father Wendell Newton, a longtime Florida Senior Games athlete and table tennis director will play Tuesday.
Like most dads during their son’s competitions, he was there to cheer them on. “They’ve been around the game with me playing and directing tournaments,” Wendell said from the sidelines. “They’ve always been good table tennis players and still are.”
A 2012 Paralympian, Tara Profitt, of Apollo Beach, competed in all three events in a wheelchair and won a silver medal in women’s doubles and a bronze in mixed doubles. She was also competed in the 1984 Paralympic Games and has been in many other international competitions.
Arthur Burns, of Palm Harbor, won his second gold medal of the tennis competition, teaming with Charles Gamble, of Dunedin, to win the 75-79 age group. He won the men’s singles gold medal for the same age group on Sunday.
Day four of the nine-day event features the first day of Golf competition at The Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa. Athletes will play two rounds of golf for the first time in Games history. Table Tennis 70+ age groups play at the Long Center and the final matches of the men’s doubles tennis competition will be at Innisbrook.
Schedule for Tuesday, December 8
Golf (M/W 18 & 36 holes), Innisbrook Resort, Tee Times beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Table Tennis (70+ age groups), The Long Center, 9:00 a.m.
Tennis (Doubles), Innisbrook Resort, 9:00 a.m.
Results from the 2015 Florida Senior Games will be updated daily and can be found at https://events.clearthunder.com/FSG2015. Click the “Results” link at the bottom of the page and choose from the events and sports. Individual athletes can be searched by name and by city and county. A daily wrapup of featuring athlete accomplishments will be sent out daily. To request a photo of any of the athletes, please contact Nick Gandy at [email protected] and every effort will be made to meet the request.
The 2015 Florida Senior Games are a program of the Florida Sports Foundation, which serves as the state’s lead organization in promoting and developing Florida’s Sports Industry. The 2015 Games are being held in conjunction with the St. Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission and the City of Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department.