HARLINGEN — Bob Salmeron recently won a silver medal in table tennis.
No, he didn’t get it at the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio this past summer. He earned his at the 30th Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, just last month.
Salmeron, along with partner JoAnne Tressler of Toledo, Ohio, finished second in the 75- to 79-year-old division of the mixed doubles table tennis tournament.
“It was about as close a match as you could get,” he said. “We went into the final game with the match tied at 2-2 and we lost the fifth game by just two points. It was a tough way to lose, but we had a lot of fun and did take home silver.”
Salmeron, who is a native of Chicago but moved to Harlingen in 1969 as part of a job promotion, has been attending the World Senior Games for the past eight years and took home a bronze medal two years ago.
According to its website, the Huntsman World Senior Games began in 1987 as a way for men and women ages 50 and over to come together through competition in an attempt to use good health and physical fitness as a way to better their golden years. Which is exactly why Salmeron started playing table tennis again.
“In 1991, I had to have a heart procedure and afterward I decided that I needed to do something to keep active,” he said. “I started walking at first, but I had played table tennis years before, so I decided to take it up again. And when I heard about the World Senior Games, I made up my mind to check them out and the rest is history.”
Salmeron said the two-week event this year drew more than 19,000 participants from 93 different countries.
“It’s quite an experience to be part of an event that involves so many people from around the world,” he said.
When Salmeron is not taking his table tennis skills out of state to Utah, he said he enjoys playing at the Harlingen Community Center as a member of the Harlingen Table Tennis Club.
“We play every Monday through Wednesday from about 6 to 9 p.m.,” he said.