Singapore’s Suntec Convention Centre was abuzz with excitement during the inaugural Olympic Esports Week as VR Table Tennis Presented by ITTF & Eleven VR took centre stage as an exhibition sport earlier today. The inclusion of VR Table Tennis in this prestigious event represents a significant milestone for the sport, solidifying its growing prominence in the realm of competitive gaming.
Enthusiasm filled the air as fans flocked to the Eleven VR free-to-play booth on the day of the exhibition matches. This interactive booth became the focal point for enthusiasts seeking to immerse themselves in the captivating world of virtual table tennis. Seamlessly blending physical exercise and virtual gameplay, the booth provided an unparalleled opportunity for players to experience the sport from multiple perspectives. The presence of talented young players from the Singapore Table Tennis Association further enhanced the booth’s allure, inspiring fans with their exceptional skills.
The event gained further significance with the attendance of distinguished guests, including Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Lawrence Wong, alongside Ng Ser Miang, Vice-President of the Singapore National Olympic Council and IOC Member, Alvin Tan, Minister of State for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ryu Seung-min, ITTF Executive Board Member and IOC Member. They were joined by ITTF Executive Vice-President Alaor Azevedo and ITTF Group CEO, Steve Dainton. DPM Lawrence Wong actively participated in both physical and VR table tennis, engaging in spirited rallies against Singapore’s own Lucas Tan, who had spent the morning rallying with children in both the real and virtual table tennis realms.
“VR Table Tennis represents an integral part of the ITTF’s mission to elevate the profile of table tennis worldwide. We are dedicated to developing the sport, pushing boundaries and driving progress. By embracing esports and constant innovation, we are shaping the future of table tennis, taking it to new heights.” – ITTF Executive Vice-President, Alaor Azevedo
ITTF Group CEO, Steve Dainton expressed his delight at the inclusion of VR Table Tennis in this groundbreaking event, stating, “It has been incredibly exciting to witness the showcase of VR Table Tennis at the inaugural Olympic Esports Series. This event has not only been a tremendous success, but we are leaving the event with inspiration to further expand and explore new avenues and expand the reach of this exciting discipline, bringing the thrill of VR table tennis to players and fans around the globe.”
The exhibition matches delivered thrilling encounters between highly skilled players. In the first semifinal, Antonin Landreau from France faced Singapore’s Krist Chen, receiving an enthusiastic welcome from local fans. Antonin emerged victorious with a commendable 3-1 win. The other semifinal featured Karl Vast of France against Joseph Marlor from Great Britain, widely known as ‘Hurricane.’ While Hurricane seemed on the verge of securing victory, the seasoned 50-year-old Karl showcased his composure and expertise, mounting an impressive comeback and causing an upset in this inaugural Olympic Esports Series. This match exemplified how table tennis transcends age barriers, with 17-year-old Joe competing against the seasoned Karl.
The final match witnessed an intense battle between Antonin and Karl, both representing France. In a memorable contest, Antonin emerged as the victor, solidifying his position as the favourite. Expressing his satisfaction with his performance, Antonin stated, “I felt I did really well, so getting the first place feels incredibly rewarding. For me, VR table tennis is not only fun but also helps improve my real-life table tennis skills. I am excited to witness the continued growth of VR table tennis.”
All players praised the exceptional organisation of the event, expressing their admiration and gratitude. The event provided a memorable and exciting experience for the participants, highlighting the expanding reach and impact of VR table tennis. As the Olympic Esports Week draws to a close tomorrow, fans still have the opportunity to purchase tickets and visit the booth on the last day. The booth has become a hotspot at the Suntec Convention Centre, with increasing queues of enthusiasts eager to try their hand at VR table tennis. This event serves as a testament to the enduring popularity of the sport and its ability to captivate a wide audience.