April 22, 2024
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Orthodox Ping Pong Star Wins Junior Olympic Gold

As the world watches the best athletes compete in Rio, one of the best Jewish Orthodox athletes, Estee Ackerman, came away with two gold medals in the 2016 AAU Junior Olympics held on August 1-3 at the George R. Brown Center in Houston, Texas. The games are known as the largest multisport event for youth in the United States.

Ackerman of West Hempstead, NY won the gold in the Under Age 16 Girls Singles Event defeating Amy Lu of Maryland, 3-1, in games in the final. In the Under Age 16 Girls Doubles Event, she teamed with Lu to win her second gold medal. In the USATT Jr. Nationals Singles Open, Ackerman was a finalist in Division B, losing to overall #1 seed Kaixin Jiang of NJ, 3-1, which was the second highest group out of six. The tournament was a bit of a rollercoaster for her. In her first match, she trailed 10-4, before winning 8 points in a row. In another match she trailed 9-4 in the fifth before pulling out a 12-10 win. She had an opportunity to make the quarterfinals in Division A, leading 9-3 in the fifth game and on the verge of pulling off a big upset, but lost 11-9.

Her ping pong summer began in Las Vegas during the first week in July, where she won the Under 3700 Jr. Doubles, won a bronze medal in Jr. Girls Teams and came in ninth place in the Cadet Girls Team Trials. She was then invited to attend the USA Table Tennis ‘Super Camp’ in Dunellen, NJ, where for two weeks, she played and practiced with 30 of the top junior players in America under the watchful eye of the best coaches in the USA.

While in Houston, Ackerman visited the Young Israel, watched the USA Men’s Olympic basketball team in the Toyota Center vs Nigeria, went to the Holocaust Museum and the Astros vs Blue Jays baseball game.

Ackerman 14, will start her sophomore year at Yeshiva University High School for Girls this September.

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