Like most sports table tennis is dependent on sponsors to help fund the cost of running major competitions. Guy Wiltcher, a partner at Greystone LLC, recently provided a cheque for £500 continuing their involvement in the Island Closed Table Tennis Championships. Greystone’s generous support is much appreciated.
In a bid to make table tennis more accessible and user friendly the Isle of Man Table Tennis Association is introducing a number of initiatives aimed at increasing player numbers and opportunities for participating in the sport throughout the year.
From Wednesday 2nd July practice sessions will take place on 12 tables each Wednesday evening in the Secondary Hall at the NSC between 7pm and 9pm. These sessions will be open to anyone interested in playing table tennis. Formal coaching will not be arranged but bats and balls will be provided to anyone without equipment. The cost for adults is £3 per session and children will be charged £1.50.
Building on the popularity of the sport at the Manx Youth Games we operate a junior league which runs from September on a Wednesday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm at the NSC. Participants from that league are also offered the opportunity to experience playing in the senior league as part of the Junior Development squad who have a team in the 3rd division. Most of the players in that division have graduated from the junior league, so the transition is relatively gentle.
One of the major drawbacks of the senior league was that matches started at 7pm and finished at 10pm which is probably too late for most young teenagers. This problem has been addressed by introducing a new playing format which will operate each Wednesday from September. The 3rd division and half of the 2nd division will start at 6.40pm and will be able finish at 8.15pm because each match will use two tables rather than just one. Similarly, the other half of the 2nd division and the 1st division will play their matches from 8.15pm and finish at 10pm.
In an endeavour to develop table tennis in the North the IOMTTA has funded the purchase of a new table which has been located in the Sure Strike Bowling Centre at Ramsey. This can be hired for a cost of £2 per 30 minute session for adults or £1.50 for juniors. Bats and balls will be provided. In addition, the Isle of Man Lions Club recently donated £500 towards the purchase of a new table at Ramsey Grammar School. There are now five tables available for both school use and for junior training sessions. These sessions will take place from 6.30pm to 9.00pm each Thursday during school term times starting again this September. Tim Baker runs this training and he can be contacted by email: email@example.comMALCOLM LAMBERT