A former Olympic table tennis star from Taiwan made a racket at the nationals competition, berating her daughter’s Orthodox Jewish doubles partner as “ugly” and dissing her conservative style of dress.
Fei Ming Tong verbally slammed Estee Ackerman, 20, before the doubles competition earlier this month in Texas, dropping F-bombs, calling her a “piece of s–t” and saying her modest outfit with its long sleeves and skirt was “unprofessional” and “disgusting,” Ackerman and her father, Glenn, told The Post.
“This was discrimination,” Glenn Ackerman said, noting both families were from Long Island and that Tong had once trained Estee and knew she was Jewish.
The tirade took place at the Fort Worth Convention Center with Tong yelling “No one wears that!” Estee Ackerman recalled.
While playing, Ackerman, a senior at Stern College for Women in Manhattan, wears shirts with shooting sleeves covering her elbows, along with skirts with leggings to adhere to her religion’s modesty rules.
“It’s not like my dress was an impediment at all to my competition level. That’s definitely not the case,” said Ackerman, who has been playing ping pong since she was 8 and at age 11 beat tennis champ Rafael Nadal in the game.
She said the trash talk left her in tears.
“It was extremely painful,” she said.
Her father, who was nearby and heard the diatribe, said the only dress prohibited at the tournament was the wearing of white because it is the same color as the ball.
After her rant, Tong pulled her daughter, Lucy Chen, out of the doubles event ahead of the quarterfinals match, which left Ackerman without a partner and eliminated. She was able to compete in other events and won a silver medal in the hardbat contest, which is played with an old-school style paddle.
Her overall rating improved during the competition proving her dress had nothing to do with her abilities, her father said.
Virginia Sung, the CEO of USA Table Tennis, said the incident with Tong was under investigation and the organization could not comment.
Ackerman, who doesn’t play on the Sabbath, missed her chance at the 2020 Tokyo games because the trials were on Saturday. USA Table Tennis would not alter the schedule.
Tong, who competed in the 2000 Sydney games, finishing ninth, told The Post that Ackerman was one of her “best and favorite” students and that she did not think there was any problem between the two of them.
“I wish her all the best for her great future,” she said.