Table tennis player preps for major tournaments - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Table tennis player preps for major tournaments

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - This week San Diego plays host to the Mike Dempsey Memorial Table Tennis Tournament. Athletes from 26 different countries will be on hand.

CBS News 8's John Howard: What are my chances of beating you if we play?

Daryl: Let's not put numbers on that, let's just play.

That's a humble way of saying I don't have much of a chance.

John: What tips do you have for me?

Daryl: Always try to be in position to hit the ball, cause if you're not there, you cannot hit it.

I found I could not hit it even when I was in position.

Turns out, Daryl has a leg up on me, if you will. Missing his right leg, he is one of the best para-table tennis players in the world. He was born with two legs, but at the age of eight was hit by a car as he was walking across the street, and doctors had to amputate.

"It was very difficult. I had to figure out problems people take for granted. How to get in the shower. How to carry something while walking," explained Daryl.

And how to play ping pong. He was introduced to the game while a student at UCSD and initially wasn't very good.

"It was difficult in the beginning because I hopped around on one leg. No crutches. I couldn't last more than one game. It was exhausting," Daryl said.

Adding to the exhaustion was his weight. He tipped the scales at 287 pounds. But eventually he got some coaching, put a crutch in his left hand and started playing and playing and playing. He lost more than 60 pounds in the process and won his way onto the U.S. para table tennis team.

"I was sort of angry as a child, because of the event. Since I had a supportive family, they always let me do anything I wanted to. They didn't say, 'Oh no, you can't do that', they encouraged me to do what I want. That's why I was able to succeed," continued Daryl.

Sterling will play in two international competitions this month, and while I didn't do much to prepare him for his next tournament, I take pride in his evaluation of my game.

Daryl: As far as newscasters go, he's the best I've ever played.

Some of the footage used in this video story was shot using a GoPro camera.

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