Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Table Tennis. Ping. World Ping-Pong Championship January 2014. Pop-Up Ping-Pong, August 2013 in London. Susan Sarandon. ETTA. Ping-Pong film on YouTube.

A happy member of the TOP SPIN Table Tennis School, Toronto

Table tennis is a wonderful game which is good for cardiovascular fitness, the lungs and cognitive awareness.  It is fun too for all ages: look at any recreational players and they all have smiles on their faces. 

The speed of the game improves reflexes and coordination and an hour's play means you burn up fat and as many as 272 calories. As it is a non-contact sport collision injuries are rare, unless you play doubles. The ball won't hurt you if it hits you either. Equipment is cheap which makes it affordable; the bats are light which means you don't strain your muscles and bending down to get the ball when it goes off the table uses up other muscles. 

Susan Sarandon
The game received welcome publicity in 2009 when actress Susan Sarandon, 66, became a co-founder of Spin in New York, a social club with ping-pong. Spin proved popular and has opened other clubs in Milwaukee, Toronto, Los Angeles and Dubai. 

Sarandon sums the game up: 

"Ping pong cuts across all body types and gender – everything, really – because little girls can beat big muscly guys. You don't get hurt; it is not expensive; it is really good for your mind. It is one of the few sports that you can play until you die."

Bounce in London has 16 tables, a long bar and restaurant.

Bars with ping-pong in London and elsewhere in the UK have followed suit. Bounce in Holborn is where the game of ping pong was first patented by John Jaques III in 1901 and the company is currently planning a chain of  social ping-pong clubs across Britain. 

The World Championship of Ping-Pong is being held at Alexandra Palace, London on 4 and 5 January 2014 by Matchroom Sport, the company behind PDC darts and World Snooker. Matches will be shown on Sky Sports and 64 of the world's best players will be hoping to win a substantial prize fund. The championship has a twist and players will have to use traditional sandpaper rackets, which hark back to the early days of table tennis. Matchroom Sport "aims to catapult ping pong into the big league and onto the international television stage".

Horsham Park permanent table tennis

Concrete tables in a park in China.
No wonder the Chinese are world champions

Table tennis isn't seasonal so you can play it at any time. More and more table tennis tables are being provided in public parks all over the world, following China's early example. 

In England, Ping!  is an innovative three-year street ping-pong project  providing people with opportunities to play social and competitive table tennis, free of charge. Permanent outdoor free-to-use tables have been installed in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Hull parks. A pop-up Ping Pong Project in London from 2 August 2013 to 11 August 2013 is about to take place: see details below.

Zhang Jike, 25, from China,
the singles World and Olympic champion. 
He uses  the 'shakehand' grip

The  Paralympic table tennis squad. London 2012

ETTA or the English Table Tennis Association provides many opportunities for disabled people  to play  at local, national, international and Paralympic levels. 

West of England coach Steve Rowe has invented Aerobic Table Tennis which is now part of the Wigan Sports Development Active Women Project.

Dorothy DeLow, 101, from Australia, but born in the UK
is the oldest competitive player in the world.

"Ping Pong: Never too old for gold" is a 2012 documentary film about eight pensioners from around the world as they trained for and competed in the world over 80's Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. Watch it on YouTube.

The U3A or the University of the Third Age has players in their eighties and even nineties among their many international members.

Ping-Pong in an Edinburgh pool

Ping Pong Project in London.  

2 August 2013 to 11 August 201

Four full size table tennis tables pop up in Jubilee Place inviting you to play, compete, get some tips from professional coaches or witness  professionals battle it out in showcase matches.

Ping! is part of the London’s Street Ping Pong Project, where for a month 100 tables will spring up across the capital’s squares, landmarks and train stations for all to enjoy and take part in.

The Canary Wharf Ping! Championship trophy is for teams of three players so visit the official website for details on how to enter your team.

Where:Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf
E14 5NY

Nearest Station:Canary Wharf

Sundays 12-6pm