S.F. Mayor Edwin M. LeeSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — S.F. Mayor Edwin M. Lee this past week announced the Third Annual Ping Pong Tournament and Festival coming Sunday, August 18, 2013 in Chinatown as part of a two-day weekend “Chinatown Summer Celebration.” This year’s Ping Pong Tournament will expand to offer provide more teams an opportunity to participate and compete.

“Through the sport of table tennis more than 40 years ago, Ping Pong Diplomacy provided a way to open the doors and connect two countries,” said Mayor Lee. “Today ping pong is becoming integrated into the fabric of everyday life for many of our youth and families in San Francisco. As we continue these Citywide Ping Pong Tournaments, we activate one of our City’s oldest and most dense neighborhoods – Chinatown – and showcase an active sport that is growing in popularity and a healthy option for residents.”

This year’s Ping Pong Tournament will expand to offer provide more teams an opportunity to participate and compete. The tournament has three levels of participation depending on skill: entry, intermediate, and advanced. Competition will be team-based with five members on each team regardless of gender or age. In addition to individual Ping Pong players and community teams from various City neighborhoods, this year’s participants include the Golden State Warriors, teams from technology companies including Weebly and teams from City Departments including the San Francisco Police Department.

The Ping Pong Tournament and Festival starts at Portsmouth Square from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with teams competing in the Ping Pong Tournament in the Chinese Culture Center Auditorium. The Festival also features family-friendly activities from jumpy houses to arts and crafts, and a variety of informational booths. Free Hetch Hetchy water will be provided by San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The Ping Pong Tournament and Festival is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office and City and County of San Francisco with Community Youth Center, Chinatown Community Development Center, Lawton Table Tennis Club, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Culture Center, Hilton Financial District, Academy of Art University, State Farm and LISC Bay Area.

“Community Youth Center is excited to once again work with our community and City partners on the Chinatown Ping Pong Festival,” said Community Youth Center Executive Director Sarah Wan. “Over 100 youth volunteers from Community Youth Center (CYC) participated in the Ping Pong Tournament last year and learned a great deal of team work, culture and history, and had fun experience with this popular sport. We are looking forward to another fun, exciting, and family-friendly celebration in Chinatown.”

The Ping Pong Tournament and Festival is part of the two-day Summer Celebration in Chinatown. The Chinatown Music Festival organized by Chinese Culture Center takes place on Saturday, August 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Portsmouth Square.

The Ping Pong Tournament started three years ago as the City commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy. Since then, the community has worked together to celebrate this iconic sport by organizing the annual Ping Pong Tournament event and inviting residents and visitors in the Bay Area to join, compete, and have fun.

For more information on the Ping Pong Festival, or to register a team, go to: . For information on Muni routes and vehicle access, call 311 or go to: .