LEWISTON – The Maine Games is opening up this year’s State Table Tennis Championship to players from New Hampshire and Vermont. This is an effort to provide players in these states that currently don’t have their own State Games an opportunity to compete, as well as attempt to qualify for the 2011 State Games of America Table Tennis Championship August 6 in San Diego.

The State Games of America is a national amateur sports festival. More than 10,000 amateur athletes in 24 different sports, including table tennis, will qualify by earning a gold, silver or bronze medal in their own State Games. Opening Ceremonies for the 2011 State Games of America will be held in Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers and host to three Super Bowls. Athletes representing their state will be able to march in the parade of athletes on the floor of the stadium for the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s as close as (most people) will ever have to being in the Olympics,” said Maine Games executive director Jeff Scully. “It’s an amazing experience. When the Master of Ceremonies announces the athletes from your state, and you march in with your state flag and placard, and you are 40 feet high on the Jumbo-Tron screen, it takes your breath away.”

The Maine Games State Table Tennis Championships will be held at the Maine Table Tennis League facility in the lower level of the Lewiston Armory. The event is hosted by the Maine Table Tennis League and is presented by the Lewiston Recreation Department. This is the only opportunity in 2010 for table tennis players in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to qualify for the 2011 State Games of America. Medalists in each division will automatically qualify for our national amateur sports festival.

This tournament will offer seven different divisions: Unrated, Juniors, A-players, B-players, Women, Seniors andDoubles. The top three finishers in each division and from each state will qualify.

Online and mail-in registration begins April 1, and fees increase May 1 and June 1. To learn more about the Maine Games State Table Tennis Championships, go to www.mainegames.org/tabletennis/html.