Tahl Leibovitz Wraps Up College Table Tennis Career
By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chairman
At age 39, Tahl Leibovitz plays table tennis with the same intensity and star power that Derek Jeter brought to the New York Yankees.
Tahl's experience, skills and knowledge of all aspects of the Olympic sport did wonders for New York University's team this season.
A native of Israel and Para Olympic gold medalist, Leibovitz teamed up with NYU ace Michael Landers and others to wow crowds at the 2015 TMS College Table Tennis Championships.
In Eau Claire, Wisconsin April 10-12, the Nationals ended Tahl's four years of eligibility as a player at the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year. But his table tennis career is far from over.
What's next for Tahl? Playing table tennis at the 2016 Para Olympics in Rio remains on his to-do list and possibly down the road should the event come to the USA in 2024.
At age 39, he's still got it after 20 straight years of playing table tennis tournaments and lots of experience coaching the sport. His table tennis rating of around 2400 isn't bad for this senior statesman of collegiate table tennis. Prior to the Nationals,Tahl was rated 13th best in men's singles. The New Yorker turns 40 on June 1.
Michael Landers and other NYU teammates rave about Leibovitz.
His success "shows you can play at a high level and juggle school,'' Landers said Sunday as the 2015 championship matches on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus reached the finals.
Game after game, Tahl "comes out and holds his own. He's an incredible and amazing competitor,'' adds Landers, 20, an NYU sophomore from Long Island. "He's one of my mentors.''
A 2014 NYU graduate, Kenneth Lim watched Tahl and other elite players in action at the Nationals and handled post-game interviews for NCTTA live streaming broadcasts. "His experience really comes out. He's a great player and coach as well,'' says Lim, who played on the NYU table tennis squad last season.
At 5'4'', Leibovitz isn't a big guy, but stands tall in the table tennis world and excels in the classroom.
A graduate of Queens College in New York, Tahl is on track to receive his master's in clinical social work from NYU in a few weeks. The NYU graduate student also squeezes in time to work at a clinic 30 hours a week.
After three days of solid spins, tricky serves and ferocious slams to help NYU's coed team achieve a 9th place finish at the Nationals, he's got a big dreams ahead.
"I want to help people,'' he says. The goal-driven table tennis star wants to focus on a career in clinical therapy and social work.
The 2015 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Visit Eau Claire and is one of the premier table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams. The event is sponsored by TMS International, Double Fish, Joola and PepPod.
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 10th and continues through Sunday April 12th at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America. www.nctta.org
About USA Table Tennis
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). www.usatt.org