IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: RAJUL SHETH - PING PONG GURU
Often, when there is a great concentration of businesses focused on a specific industry in a particular geographic location, the area is called the "Silicon Valley" of and then you fill in the blank. That's a tribute to Silicon Valley in Northern California which is the home to many of America's great tech companies - Google, Apple, Intel, etc. For example, Charlotte is the Silicon Valley of banking. Nashville is the Silicon Valley of hospital firms.
Well, it turns out the actual Silicon Valley is the Silicon Valley for America's ping-pong talent. All of those immigrant tech workers who came on H-1Bs are doing more than starting up companies that employ millions of Americans. It turns out their kids are going to make America top competitors in the sport the Chinese currently dominate. How sweet will it be if an American kid takes gold in London in 2012?
The New York Times has a front page story this morning on the Ping-Pong Boom in Silicon Valley and reports on several immigrant kids who are at the top of the rankings in America. A number of these kids would make excellent Immigrant of the Day subjects and when the 2012 Olympics roll around, I suspect I'll be writing about them.
But today I honor the Indian-born man who is helping to make this possible. Rajul Sheth is a former competitor for the Indian national team and is the coordinator of the table tennis program sponsored by the Indian community in Silicon Valley, but which has kids of a variety of nationalities participating. His team includes 100 teenagers including Ariel Hsing, the country's top-ranked junior player. Sheth's program employs top coaching talent from China and Sweden (also a world power house in ping pong).