Indianapolis man captures world table tennis title

Lining up across the table from Dick Hicks is anything but a friendly game of Ping-Pong.

“Most of the time I’d be nice,” Hicks told FOX59’s Larra Overton as she prepared to face the World Table Tennis Champion.

“You going to take it easy on me?” asked Larra.

“Yeah,” he assured with a smile.

When asked what the difference is between what is commonly called “Ping-Pong,” and competitive table tennis, he explained, “Recreational table tennis in your basement is to serious table tennis as shooting baskets in your driveway is to playing in the NBA.”

And in that world of serious table tennis, Hicks is US Hall of Famer.

"I've won 70 national titles and just the one world championship, that's the only one I’ve participated in,” Hicks he said with a smile.

Just a few weeks ago, at the age of 80, Hicks earned that first world title. What might be most impressive isn't the medal itself, but his come-from-behind effort to capture it.

"I started poorly,” he admitted. “I lost the first two games, I won the third game and I was behind in the fourth game 6-2, and finally tied it up and won 12-10, and then I won the final game in a hard match."

This civil engineer also has more than 30 state titles to his name.

"I'm probably the oldest that ever won a state championship,” he said humbly.

And aspects of his game are even stronger than they were than when he started playing competitively at 19, something Larra learned firsthand playing a few sets against the champ.

“I think I can attack a little better and I can make more different shots than I could early on, but it's necessary because the competition is getting better all the time,” Hicks explained.

So that means he’ll keep getting better too, practicing two or three times a week at the Table Tennis Club of Indianapolis to be sure he defends that world title, because, in his words, "The only thing you can do better is do it again.”