SSG Table Tennis and Track & Field Championships to be held this weekend in Polk and Charlotte Counties
TALLAHASSEE – Two sports are on the SSG docket for this weekend as the Sunshine State Games Track and Field Championships will be held at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda and the Table Tennis Championships are in Lakeland. Both are two day events.
At the SSG Track and Field Championships, youth running events begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday with field events starting at 9:00 a.m. both days. Open and Masters running events begin at 8:45 on Sunday. The Youth Track and Field meet features age groups beginning at 8 and under through 17-18 age groups.
Besides the athletic events, with nearly 600 athletes representing 45 teams/clubs, the 2014 Sunshine State Games Male Athlete of the Year, Jamari Johnson, of Tampa, will receive his award at 1:00 p.m.
Johnson has risen through the SSG Track and Field ranks as a competitor and member of a family of discus throwers. At the 2014 Championships in Clearwater, he had a discus throw of 163 feet to beat the next best throw by more than 50 feet. He also had a silver medal winning shot put of 44 feet, missing a gold medal by ½ inch.
His discus throwing family members include his mother, Sana’tera Isacc, and uncles, Marqus and Garrett Johnson. Jamari has been throwing since the age of four, according to his grandfather, Nate Johnson, who has been involved in SSG Track and Field since 1986.
Jamari has been competing in the Sunshine State Games off and on since 2006. In 2015, he won the Class A State Championship Discus Gold Medal with a throw of 163 feet, 1 inch and a silver in the shot put for Seffner Christian Academy. He has advanced to the State Championship meet every year since he was in seventh grade, and now a recent graduate of, Seffner Christian.
The Sunshine State Games Table Tennis Championships at the Simpson Park Community Center in Lakeland, will have a record number of players on the tables Saturday and Sunday. Competition begins both days at 9:00 a.m.
Brad Woodington, the state director for the Sunshine State Games Table Tennis, has announced a record number of registrants, close to 100 players, will be competing in 15 events for this two-day tournament with players from all over Florida. The record number of players will also be playing in multiple events with several brackets featuring over 20 players.
New to the 2015 Table Tennis Championships is the Super Big Ball Event, to begin at 3:00 p.m. Sunday. The ball is 4 millimeters larger and produces less spin, according to Woodington. The game requires more racquet skills than ball spin and produces longer rally points. Another different aspect of the game is a higher net, raised ¾ inch. While the Super Big Ball game is new to United States, it is popular in Japan and Europe.
Through the Palm Beach County Festival, last weekend, over 7,500 of Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes have competed in events of the Sunshine State Games on the 2015 Calendar. The final competition of June will be the Sunshine State Games Water Polo Championships, to be held June 26-28 at the Coral Springs Aquatic Center.
For more info on the Sunshine State Games, Florida’s only Olympic-style Sports Festival and the nation’s longest continuous years-running State Games, please visit www.flasports.com.