Arnold Classic presents table tennis pros
Thousands of fitness fans are filling the Columbus Convention Center this weekend at the Arnold Classic, a bodybuilding and fitness expo that features 14,000 athletes ages 6 to 70 competing in 20 sports.
But not all of those athletes are bodybuilders, weightlifters and aerobic workout enthusiasts.
When you think of table tennis, images of muscle-bound bodybuilders and weightlifters don't come to mind. Instead, it's scenes of the home rec room and mom, dad and the kids engaging in fun-filled ping-pong.
But table tennis at the Arnold Classic is a far cry from a friendly match with you brother or sister. At the highest levels of competition are world-class athletes with amazing hand-eye coordination and physical endurance.
Professional table tennis players from around the world are competing at this year's Arnold classic and ESPN is there to tape the matches for future programming.
On the amateur side, there are long-time table tennis enthusiasts like Robert Powell of Columbus, a six-time Ohio champion who has played for 30 years.
There are only 7,500 tournament playing pros in the US, but overseas, in Europe and Asia, Powell says it's a high-level sport.
There are 2-million tournament players in China alone and the sport attracts crowds in Japan, Germany and Sweden too. Powell says top-level players must keep in tip-top shape and workout for many hours every week. Powell, though, has to tailor his game to his own physical limitations.
Powell says table tennis equipment has changed over the years with the use of more high-tech materials.