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The Dark Horse from UChicago

Shaquila Sarapao, Press Committee Member

Three months was all it took for a graduate student to come compete at his first NCTTA national tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, as the sixth seed in singles and third in doubles. Unheard of and unknown, people wondered who he was.

Who is this dark horse?

Graduating from Wuhan University with a major in Physics, Chenxi Sui is currently working on his PhD for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. For the past five years, he has been investigating the combination of electrochemistry and thermal science within car batteries to make it more efficient in charging time and longevity.

As a child, he played for a provincial team in China and won three national championships—until he quit table tennis at twelve years old and focused on his education. “I’m just more interested in science and technology,” Sui says, “and if you want to survive in this world, you need to study.”

Now, in his fifth and final year of his program, he found that he had more time to engage back to his old hobby. Having just turned twenty-seven this past April 16th, he took a fourteen-year hiatus and returned to play only three months ago. “I know NCTTA is where I can meet a lot of people and good players,” he notes, “so I just joined.”

And his experience has been worthwhile. Sui recalls his singles match against Santiago Montes Solarte from Texas Wesleyan, describing that “he pushed me short, but over time, I relaxed more and got used to him.” On the other hand, his match with U.C. Berkley Nikhil Kumar was a different story. “I used all of my power to play against him, but he’s so good,” he admits, “[This] was a really, really good experience.”

Sui’s first appearance at his first NCTTA national tournament is one to remember. He placed third with Canadian partner Kenny Jiang in Men’s Doubles and lost in the quarterfinals against a Paris Olympian.

After all this, Sui plans on going back to the University of Chicago and relaxing–just like any other soon-to-be graduate.

(Featured in photo is dynamic University of Chicago player Chenxi Sui. Photo credit to Dennis Yanga)

About 2024 NCTTA College Table Tennis Championships
The championships are hosted by the
National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Visit Eau Claire CVB. The
event will feature: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed
Teams, Women’s Teams.
PongSpace, Joola, the US
Coast Guard, Visit Eau Claire and Bluestone Designs sponsor the event.
Watch the event on live
stream starting Friday, April 12th on

The National Collegiate Table Tennis
Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively to
promote 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 elite intercollegiate competitions throughout North America.


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