#TableTennisDay puts on a smashing show!

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Thousands of people across England celebrated #TableTennisDay in style.

The second annual showcase of our sport engaged and enthused people of all ages and backgrounds in every corner of the country.

Here are just a small number of the events and social media activity from the day.

Participants from New Bridge school in Oldham

New Bridge school in Oldham, which is a special needs academy, linked with neighbours Radclyffe School for a round-robin tournament.

All the young people who competed from New Bridge have autism, while Radclyffe provided year 10 qualified umpires, who did a fantastic job. There was also a longest rally competition, which reached a high of 268.

Students at Liskeard School

Liskeard School in Cornwall had a fantastic lunchtime of table tennis, with six tables in the gym alive and buzzing with Year 7s challenging each other and staff to matches.

The PE staff were put through their paces by the students, matches were won and lost and a lot of students experienced table tennis for the first time.

There is now a huge interest in the Table Tennis club starting in the new term. The day was such a success that the PE Department is now going to ‘adopt’ table tennis days throughout the year, opening it up to all school years. England

Commonwealth Games star Andrew Baggaley was busy on the day.

Andrew Baggaley at the Picnic on the Green

He met Iain Stewart MP at the ‘Picnic on the Green’ themed #NationalTableTennisDay event at St Andrews Baptist Church in Bletchley, Milton Keynes – a two-hour late afternoon event which attracted over 100 people and gained coverage on BBC3 Counties Radio.

He was also at Temple Cowley United Reformed Church in Oxford for a large community themed all day event covered on Sky Sports News throughout the day.

Left to Right: Anne Borrowdale, Jamie Weir (Sky Sports News), Stephen Baggaley, Andrew Baggaley

Table Tennis England’s major event was held in Nottingham, with special guests Commonwealth Games 2014 medallists Sam Walker and Kelly Sibley and the one and only Desmond Douglas.

The chance to take on one of the star players had Nottingham’s citizens flocking to the tables – and there were plenty of other fun challenges too, including ‘choose your weapon’, ‘around the world’, ‘bling your bat’ and the robot challenge.

We also had visits from Sky Sports News, BBC East Midlands and Nottingham TV, plus other local media.

#TableTennisDay in Nottingham city centre. Picture by Andy Chubb

Kelly Sibley said: “It’s great to see so many people wanting to get involved and have a go, and such a wide variety of people too.

“I played against a young lad who was about eight and then about 10 minutes later I played a lady who was 86.

“It goes to show it really is for everybody – no matter what age or level of fitness you can enjoy it.”

Sam Walker added: “It’s been a great day and a great publicity event for the sport. We had a lot of interest in the city and a lot of people asking questions and wanting to play.

“It doesn’t matter how old people are, they’re giving it a go and enjoying it and that’s what sport is all about – even at the elite level you’ve got to enjoy it.”

Desmond Douglas was a big attraction, with numerous requests for photos and interviews. He said: “It’s been a good day for table tennis, a good promotional day with a lot of interest from the public and from TV, which is always good. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Table Tennis England Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe, who was interviewed on Sky Sports News, said: “It’s a celebration of our fantastic sport, showcasing just how much fun it can be and how easy it is to pick up a bat and play.”

Sam Walker was also on hand at nearby Rushcliffe Country Park, alongside players from Central College, to launch their new outdoor tables.

Sam Walker inaugurates the tables at Rushcliffe Country Park

Sam said: “These tables are a really great idea. Table tennis is a really good game to have a go at. I would urge people to come to the park and have a go – have fun and enjoy developing your game, or just have a knock-about.”

Here is some of the day’s social media activity from events:

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