LI teen table tennis star aims for Tokyo Olympics

Posted: Updated:
WEST HEMPSTEAD -

A 17-year-old table tennis star from West Hempstead is setting her sights on the Olympics.

Estee Ackerman says she practices four days a week for about two hours.

Ackerman began playing table tennis with her dad in her basement when she was 8 years old.

“I said why not ping pong? It's good hand-eye coordination and we'll try it. And from that we moved up from 15 minutes a night, to an hour, to two hours,” says her dad, Glenn Ackerman.

From there, her passion took off. Ackerman has showcased her skills in the U.S. Open and in the 2016 Rio Olympic trials.

Her passion has had some challenges: Ackerman is the only Orthodox Jewish competitor in the U.S. Tennis Table Association. Religious observances prevent her from playing on a national stage on Saturdays.

“Sometimes on Fridays, if I have matches and I really succeed, and I keep going, it goes until Friday night, and I usually have to default sometimes,” she says.

Ackerman says she hopes to make it through the trials for 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In addition to her Olympic dreams, Ackerman hopes to make table tennis an interscholastic sport in local Jewish high schools to get more kids involved at a young age.
 

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