The new intake of Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) students have met for their first training camp, taking the number of athletes on the programme to 25.

DiSE is another step in the England Performance Pathway and provides a wider group of players with the benefit of being on the pathway and learning the knowledge of National Coaching staff.

The two-year programme also has an educational aspect as players complete a portfolio of work in areas such as psychology, strength & conditioning, nutrition and lifestyle among other things. Successful completion brings with it 64 UCAS points.

Recently, 12 new athletes have been recruited onto the programme taking the total number to 25 split across two groups (1st year and 2nd year), five of whom are also part of the British Para Table Tennis Pathway.

Over the weekend October 3-4, the first-year learners met for the first time in a camp hosted at Grantham College. The aim of the camp was to undertake a series of skills assessments as well as fitness testing so athletes could gain an understanding of where they are and what they need to improve before the next camp.

DiSE National Lead, Chris Turner said: “The DiSE programme portfolio work and the philosophy of the Table Tennis England Performance Programme ties really nicely together.

“Our philosophy is to help athletes find out what they’re capable of, so at the weekend we helped athletes find out what their current ability level is, with the next steps being to improve their knowledge around goal-setting and what purposeful practice looks like so this work can continue in their home club environments.

“The players engaged really well with the camp and the challenges that were set. I’m really looking forward to continuing the work with them.”

British Para Pathway Manager, Shaun Marples is delighted to be working in partnership with Table Tennis England with this programme, commenting: “It’s great to see the Para players engaging with the DiSE programme.  It’s an opportunity for the players to practise with different players and receive quality advice from the coaches delivering the programme.

“It’s an exciting time for Table Tennis England and British Para Table Tennis to work close together in the delivery of this programme and something to build for the future.”

Second-year learners will be meeting up this weekend (October 17-18) for their first camp of the season.

A hope for the programme is to also give the players an exposure of international table tennis, although a camp with legendary player Petr Korbel was unfortunately cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DiSE athletes are:

Year one: Mari Baldwin, Jaiden Caldeira, Shaon Chapman, Luke Davies-Stokes, Max Flint, James Harvey, Josh Hill, Amy Mold, Sophie Storey, Dylan Tynan, Daniel Watkinson, Matthew Westworth.

Year two: Theo Bishop, Ronan Elder, Jacob Evans, Jak Kane, Gemma Kerr, Jodie Morris, Mollie Patterson, Lewis Pocock, Alex Pringle, Herbie Sage, Ethan Scully, Peter Smallcombe, Max Stevens.