If you have ever played table tennis, or otherwise known as Ping-Pong, you will appreciate that initially it is a little harder than it looks to push a small, white, hollow ball over a low net…but it is, without doubt, a lot of fun.
The origins of the sport are thought to go back to the 1880’s when it was an after-dinner pastime played by those in British high society. More of a parlour game, it was literally played on the dining table using various items for bats such as cigar boxes, books and drum-like paddles. This form of English tennis was able to be played indoors by anyone but on a smaller scale and without the fear of rain spoiling play.
The game has progressed hugely to date and it is estimated that over 300 million people worldwide now play the sport whether at school, work, in a local club, for fitness, fun or competitively. New technology continues to perfect the equipment and make the sport much faster, more technical and far more challenging while structured rules set by governing bodies such as Table Tennis England ensure that there is fair play at whatever level you participate.
Ely Table Tennis Club was formed back in the 1950’s and has produced some very talented players who have competed at a National and International level. The club has moved venue to halls in and around Ely several times as it grew and evolved. The Club now boasts over 50 members from the age of 10 up to 76.
Last year Ely Table Tennis Club received recognition of their commitment to encouraging more local people to the sport when they received £9,600 funding from Sport England. The grant has helped the club to purchase new equipment, train coaches, hold tournaments, increase membership and find new venues to play at such as Witchford Village College Sports Centre which holds practice and coaching sessions every Monday from 7-9pm.
The latest satellite venue opened recently at Littleport Leisure Centre. Practice sessions are held every Thursday evening from 7 to 9pm. Everyone is welcome, whatever age and ability. The club offers a free taster session so there is no excuse for anyone not to have a go. Bats can be provided but you are recommended to wear suitable sports footwear. Subsequent two-hour practice sessions are £4 for adults and £2 for juniors. Annual Membership is £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. The club include free one-to-one or group coaching to help all players improve at their own pace.
Ely Table Tennis Club are also keen to recruit new members to their league teams, which play competitively in different divisions in both the Ely and Cambridge Leagues. Table tennis is an excellent sport for getting fit and there are proven mental health benefits too. So, if you have never played, or used to play at school or in a team, then get down to a free taster session at Witchford or Littleport for a warm welcome and lots of fun.
For further information, please contact Karen Byford on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Dan Odling