'Anna Kournikova of Table Tennis' at Krypto Lounge Aug. 21

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115575670918753.jpg’, ”, ‘Table tennis star Biba’);

Proceeds from table tennis tournament to benefit Boys and Girls Club of Rockford

Krypto Lounge is hosting “Ping Pong Extravaganza,” a benefit for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rockford, capped by an appearance by Collegiate Table Tennis Champion “Biba.” Preliminary rounds were Aug. 14, while the finals are set for Monday, Aug. 21.

“We have been hosting a Ping Pong night for several months now,” said Chris Wachowiak, owner of the Krypto Lounge. “Some of these players are really good. We decided to step it up a notch and see who the best players are in Rockford—and raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rockford at the same time.”

Chicago-based table tennis equipment manufacturer Killerspin is donating paddles, balls and tables to accommodate players without their own gear.

“Killerspin makes first-class equipment, sponsors world-class events and generally promotes the game,” according to Ed Hogshead, Rockford resident and Killerspin associate. “The idea of playing table tennis for the Boys and Girls Clubs is a fantastic idea. We’re proud to have a role in it.”

The tournament will be broken in two tiers: a bracket for experienced players, and a bracket for novice players.

“We don’t want to pit great players against players who haven’t played since the old-school basement days,” said Wachowiak. “That wouldn’t be fair. In the end, we want everyone to have fun.”

Winners of each tournament tier will have the opportunity to play Biba Aug. 21. Entry fee was $10, and proceeds are to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rockford.

Biba is a celebrity in table tennis. Born in the former Yugoslavia, she came to the U.S. on a table tennis scholarship, originally in Texas. She was lured to Chicago by Killerspin and studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Nicknamed “The Anna Kournikova of Table Tennis,” Biba eschewed the “cocktail dress” fashion of traditional female players for her own modern look—considered by fans to be, well, sexy. Biba would have been a sure contender in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, but was not allowed to enter. Yugoslavia, her home country, was breaking up because of civil war, and she could not claim a sponsoring country.

As Wachowiak said, “But really, if ping pong doesn’t interest you at all, Biba will.”

Krypto Lounge is inside Kryptonite at 308 W. State St. For more information, call Krypto Lounge at 965-0931.

From the Aug. 16-22, 2006, issue

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