#TableTennisDay gets the nation playing!

Author:
Paul Stimpson

Publish date:

Please note - this news article was published more than four years ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

Tens of thousands of people grabbed a bat and made the third annual National #TableTennisDay a massive celebration of our sport.

From Cornwall to Newcastle, hundreds of events in clubs, workplaces, schools, leisure centres, shopping centres and beyond promoted the simple message that table tennis is for everyone and is a great and fun way to get active.

Social media was buzzing with pictures and videos of the big day, which was a trending topic on Twitter thanks to all those who signed up to our Thunderclap. Almost 11 million page impressions were generated on Twitter.

We hit the airwaves too, with local media around the country flocking to events and mentions on channels as diverse as Sky Sports and Classic FM.

And there was celebrity involvement, including snooker ace Judd Trump, who tweeted the video below.

Table Tennis England’s big event was in Brighton, where London Olympians Andrew Baggaley and Kelly Sibley were star guests, along with Harry Fairchild, the world’s first table tennis coach with Down’s Syndrome.

Sussex County Cricket Club vice-captain Ben Brown came to join in the fun at the iconic bandstand on the seafront, as did the mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Pete West.

And there was another unusual visitor this summer as the sun put in a much-needed appearance.

Councillor West, said: “We’re very proud to be an open city and we’re regarded as a City of Sanctuary, and table tennis is playing a part in that – it’s a very accessible sport which reaches out to people to give them an opportunity to be included. We’re very pleased to have the national launch of Table Tennis Day here.”

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Andrew Baggaley, the ping pong world champion, said: “It’s been a great day, a big turnout and a lot of kids getting involved and playing and that’s what we want to see.

“It’s a day of celebration for table tennis and to inspire kids and also older people to play. It’s a really accessible sport and this is a great showcase for the sport.”

Ben Brown said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. I had such a good time playing as a kid. It’s a great sport and to see it promoted like this is absolutely brilliant and it’s fantastic for everyone to be able to come down and play.

“I play with the boys at Sussex and beat them fairly easily. It’s great fun but it’s also a good sport for hand-eye co-ordination and helps your cricket because it’s up close reactions.”

Brighton TTC masterminded the day, with pupils from St Paul’s CofE School among those to visit, along with hundreds of local people.

Brighton TTC founder and coach Tim Holtam said: “We’ve had an interesting mix of people, which there always is down here. It’s the best Ping! location in the country and it’s always busy when the weather is nice.

“We’ve had players with Down’s Syndrome playing 80-year-olds, refugees from Afghanistan playing 12-year-old girls. Everyone plays with everyone – that’s what’s great about table tennis. More than any activity in the world, it’s got to be the most accessible and inclusive.”

Kelly Sibley, who spent most of the afternoon in a series of challenge matches, said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant, a really good day. It’s great to see so many people here and passers-by getting involved.

“The atmosphere of the day has been brilliant and the turnout shows how popular table tennis is and how much people enjoy playing it.

“It’s good that everybody gets behind National Table Tennis Day all over the country and big thanks to Brighton for putting this on.”

Don’t forget to send us your reports and photos of the big day – here is just a selection of tweets from around the country.

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