Table tennis champions made it their mission over the weekend to educate members of the public about the sport as part of Leicester’s Ping! 2012 festival.
Ping-pong tables were laid out in Humberstone Gate on Saturday 30 June where dozens of aspiring players of all ages and abilities gathered to take part.
Table tennis champion and GB Team player Kelly Sibley and her coach, the former six times National Men’s winner, Alan Cooke, shared some tips and experiences with the audience, before battling it out. At one point they started to use frying pans and small bats in replacement of their ping-pong paddles.
Other athletes that gave the champions a match challenge included Maria Morgan, who competed in the Special Olympics in Leicester in 1989 and is one of the torchbearers carrying the flame through Leicester this evening.
Steve White has been playing ping-pong for about 50 years and is one of the organiser’s of Leicester’s Ping Festival. He said: “I love Leicester and I love table tennis, and this is like a dream come true. It is good to see so many people playing today, we are giving them the chance to be healthier, we provide them with some coaching, and we’re bringing communities together as well.
“One day table tennis may be a league and we hope we find the world champion in here.”
Sports Marketing Manager and organiser Steve Humphries added: “It’s amazing to see how ping pong is catching the imagination of the public, they’re engaged to it, they’re taking it to their hearts. Hope one day one of them say: ‘I want to be a champion like Kelly or Alan’.”
The Ping fever will continue until Sunday July 29 at different places across the city including Leicester Market, the Guildhall, Newarke Houses Museum, St. Margaret Bus Station, Highcross, Abbey Pumping Station Museum and eight city parks.