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Relishing the Challenge, Youngest Player Launches Career in San Diego
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Ian Seidenfeld, a bright eyed young man with an attitude to admire  Photo By: Richard Xue


Born in Lakeville, Minnesota in the United States of America, Ian Seidenfeld is the youngest competitor on duty at the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament, which commences in the west coast American city of San Diego on Thursday 29th November and concludes on Saturday 1st December 2012.

A pupil at the Kenwood Trail Middle School, he is only 11 years old and he is competing in his first ever international Para Table Tennis Tournament.

The bright eyed, alert and highly articulate, the young man has been classified in Class 6 and most certainly he is ready for the challenge and ready to follow in illustrious footsteps.

Well Known Figure
He is the son of a living legend of Para Table Tennis in the United States of America.
Ian’s father is Mitchell Seidenfeld, a player who has a plethora of titles to his credit, including World titles and Paralympic gold medals.

Paralympic Gold
In 1990 he won the Men’s Singles Class 8 title at the World Para Table Tennis Championships in the Dutch city of Athens, before securing Paralympic gold ain the same class at the Barcelona Paralympic Games two years later.

Furthermore, in 1996 he was the Men’s Singles Class 8 silver medallist at the Atlanta Paralympic Games but although he had sufficient ranking points to compete in the recent London 2012 Paralympic Games, on doctor’s advice, requiring necessary hip surgery, he was unable to compete.

Same Disability
Both father and son suffer from Pseudoachondroplasia; it is a type of short-limb dwarfism usually not discovered two or three years of age.

Surgery prevented Mitchell Seidenfeld competing in the London Paralympic Games but it has not stopped Ian Seidenfeld being on duty in San Diego.

Both Legs Broken
Incredibly, Ian Seidenfeld underwent surgery earlier this year in July, the third surgery of his young life.

A problem with Pseudoachondroplasia is a person’s legs do not grow in the manner of an able-bodied person, so surgery is continually needed.

Both legs were broken at the ankle and just below the knee; the scars are most visible and it was not until September that he was given permission by doctors to try walking.

No Excuses
Despite the problems, he is positive and most reluctant to refer to any possible physical problems he may faces in life.

He never complains, he never offers any excuses, none at all; those who moan and groan about aches and pains, should meet the polite young man from Lakeville; his positive attitude is infectious.

Coached by Father
“I started to play table tennis when I was six or seven years old”, smiled Ian Seidenfeld. “My father has helped me a great deal, he’s coached me and practised with me.”

A very good practice partner indeed, the left handed Ian Seidenfeld who stands just over one metre tall (3 feet 6 inches), most certainly has been well groomed.

Ian Seidenfeld relishes the competition that table tennis offers
Photo by Richard Xue

Watch for the Forehand Services
“I think blocking and driving the ball are my best strokes”, continued Ian Seidenfeld. “That’s blocking with my backhand and driving with my forehand.”

Also, he has a varied range of services, especially from the forehand; at the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament, they may well cause adversaries a host of problems!

Avowed Aim
“My aim is to be a World or a Paralympic champion”, continued Ian Seidenfeld and he may well achieve his goals; the one major factor that attracted him to table tennis was the competition factor.

He thrives on competition.

Standard Rising
“The standard of play in Para Table Tennis is consistently rising; it’s the same with all Para sports”, said Mitchell Seidenfeld. “Maybe not by large amounts, by small amounts but it is rising; Class 10 events are very much our flagship.”

At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Polish duo of Patryk Chojnowski and Natalia Partyka won the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles Class 10 events; they are renowned top players in able bodied sport.

Possesses the Personality
Now for Ian Seidenfeld to achieve his goals, it may be a harder challenge that it was for his father, who in American circles has legendary status.

Nevertheless, Ian Seidenfeld has the personality, he has the character; that he has shown in life and shown in abundance.

Ian Seidenfeld is a winner; like father, like son.

Mitchell Seidenfeld practising for the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament
Photo by Richard Xue



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