An amazing week for TT UK – World Tour, Para Open & PD-TT-WC-2020

It has been an amazing week for UK table tennis… I love it when a plan comes together.

Firstly to Liam Pitchford who is playing out of his skin, having beaten the world No 1 Xu Xin to get to the finals of the Qatar Open World Tour where he lost a credible 4-2 to the worlds No 2 Fan Zhendong of China. Liam and Paul Drinkhall also reached the doubles final, losing 3-1 to the worlds best pair Xu Xin and Ma Long. Full details are available at Table Tennis England.

British Para Table Tennis Team also took medals at the Costa Brava Para Open in the run up to the Tokyo games this summer. Well done to Billy Shilton, Joshua Stacey and Ashley Facey Thompson, Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton, Martin Perry and Tom Matthews .

Full details are available on the Table Tennis England website and the ITTF TV channel (registration required to view matches).

And finally, the PDTTUK plan is nicely coming together as well: EDUCATION has initiated; EXERCISE session is established; ENGAGEMENT has started, with a handful of enquiries from new and existing players, and; EXCELLENCE, to attend the 2nd ITTF Parkinsons World Table Tennis Championship, is finally open for pre-registration.

2nd ITTF Parkinsons World Table Tennis Championship 2020

So what is the PDTTUK Plan? As stated previously in my other posts to this blog, I am convinced Table Tennis is one of the most therapeutic sports for neurological conditions, which can be fun and easy to get started. Hence my campaign to raise awareness and education through research studies to justify the claim. Encouragement to then get as many (PwP) people to give TT a go, especially if they haven’t played before. It’s a fun way to Exercise.

Then if they like it, and want to start to (re-)play competitively or as serious sports therapy to help manage their neurological condition, it would be great to have a national tournament – friendly and fun. For those wanting to go the whole hog, then finally, they can get the chance to Excel, despite their chronic condition, and play in the 2nd ITTF World Parkinsons TT Championship taking place this summer. Read on for further details

Graphic of the Plan to get an England squad to the 2nd ITTF PWTTC

On Monday 2 March I used the opportunity of a PD Research Talk, which Alan and I were presenting to the Lowestoft & Beccles Branch, to include my recent interest in exercise and TT related studies. My talk on the topic got a round of applause after a 20 minute monologue which can’t have been that boring. Followed by another show of appreciation after a handful of attendees had a go with my ‘pop-up’ TT set – see my PDTTUK Facebook updates, photos and videos for details.

Then on Tuesday, I heard back from Parkinson’s UK South East Fundraising Manager, Shana, that we’ve been given permission to use the Norwich Castle Quarter Ping Pong Parlour for a promotional event on World Parkinsons Day Sat 11 April. We’ve already got support from the local PD branch to help fundraise and the Norwich City TT Club are assisting with running the event. So save the date and visit us: 10 – 2pm Saturday 11 April 2020, Castle Quarter shopping centre, Norwich, NR1 3DD

Castle Quarter shopping centre, Norwich

Wednesday is the regular session for newbies to try ‘ping pong’ in a safe and friendly environment. Thanks to ActivIpswich, Del and Mike in particular, people with Parkinsons and similar conditions are welcome to attend their Ping Pong and Soft Tennis weekly session at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich. For the past four weeks we’ve been advertising this for Parkies to give it a go, we’ve had a couple of PwP’s attend each week, sometimes with family supporter: thanks to Derek, Justin, Jason, David and John, +3 significant others.

A great way to try out TT in a safe and friendly session

And it looks like Justin and David are now regulars, no doubt thanks to the tea/coffee and biscuits the centre kindly provides. Justin was previously napping during this time of a morning, but has found a new fun activity that keeps him awake, and puts a smile on his face when he gets a sneaky ‘ace’ serve, straight down the line.

Thursday, I finally managed to free up sufficient space in my garage to set up a practice table, courtesy of the BT TT Club, with my new TT buddy – Roberto, the robot. There’s just about sufficient room now to swing a bat (but not a cat!). So hopefully if I practice for another 10,000 hours before the summer I should be good enough to enter the next tournament…

Roberto my TT robot – so far, he is winning!

Finally, on Friday, my personal goal and obsession came a step closer with the formal launch for the 2nd ITTF World Parkinsons TT Championship, being held 27-29 August 2020 in Berlin, thanks to Yuvedo and all the other sponsors. Pre-registration is open along with further details via the PWTTC website (there is an English translation option on the site if required).

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Table Tennis England got in touch, asking for a meeting with me, Parkinsons Uk and British Para TT Team… Exciting times ahead I am sure. So, thanks for reading this far, and carry on watching this space for the next exciting update…

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