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We can't even trust Ukrainian Ping-Pong anymore

July 10, 2020

Charles Gullung

To my fellow fans of table tennis in the Ukraine (is it still "the Ukraine," or can we just "Ukraine" now?), I have some very bad news. Turns out, New Jersey has suspended betting on the entire damn sport in the entire damn country. The problem? Match fixing. Which proves that even the purest sports will be tainted by this cursed pandemic.

Even worse than that, they're disallowing any betting on many matches ANYWHERE for six specific players. I know what' you're thinking: Please tell me this doesn't apply to my six favorite Ukrainian ping pong stars, Liliia Zaitseva, Ivan Gaysin, Karen Dzhanibekyan, Eduard Panichev, Anastasia Efimova and Gleb Zoto.

Bad news, pal: It does. It applies to all six of them. Yes, even Gleb Zoto.

"Well," you're thinking, "at least I've still got the Setka Cup."

NOPE. You don't still got the Sepka Cup, buddy, because that league is off the table not just in New Jersey, but Colorado too.

This all started with an ESPN report back in May "found uncertainties" in table tennis, especially as to which governing bodies oversaw which competitions. That led Indiana to nix betting on any unsanctioned table tennis, but New Jersey didn't follow suit until they were alerted to potential match-fixing earlier this week by the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (great, concise name).

Just another bummer from 2020. On a serious note, it's actually pretty amazing how much action there was, here in America, on Ukrainian table tennis. According to ESPN, hundreds of thousands of dollars were wagered on the sport every day. In America!

Which means that somewhere in New Jersey, there's a group of people who are seriously bummed out about this news, and are possibly shaking and shivering with Ukrainian ping pong withdrawal.

To them I say: Cheer up. I'm hearing that the Chechnyan Tug-O-War starts next week.