The Olympics may have been over for six months now (it hardly seems that long), but the legacy of the London 2012 Games continues for those both young and old across the country.
Elliot Marx, who hadn’t picked up a table tennis bat for 40 years, was inspired to return to the game after watching the Olympics and Paralympics and hopes that her story can inspire others to get back in action.
Marx, who lives in Christchurch, explained: “It was fabulous to see top table tennis players in action – I was mesmerised by it.
“I still have tremendous fun, to me that’s what it’s all about”
“Witnessing Ding Ning lose to Li Xiaoxia [in the Olympic final] for failure to throw her service ball up six inches in the air traumatised me so badly I couldn’t serve at all for several weeks!
“I am a pretty poor player but I still have tremendous fun, to me that’s what it’s all about. I’m not really competitive and I’m more keen on encouraging other people to try the game for those reasons, as it is a terrific fitness activity and a great social ice-breaker.”
Marx is just one of a number of social players across the country to have benefitted from the Ping! project that has placed table tennis tables across various locations in England for the last three years.
With around 500 Ping! tables in cities ranging from Brighton to Birmingham, London to Liverpool, it is no wonder she was able to pick up where she left off in the sport those long years ago.
“I instantly got bitten by the bug”
Marx recalled: “I used to play as a kid, we kind of made up the rules. I hadn’t played for about 40 years when I read about the Ping! promotion. It fitted with my interest in reducing carbon footprint and building community resilience as part of a transition to a more sustainable way of living.
“I picked up a bat when I attended the Ping Pong Movie about the over 80s World Championships – a Ping! table was in the foyer of the cinema. I instantly got bitten by the bug and felt the elation and fun I remembered from before.”
She added: “I got in contact with local clubs, including the U3A and the New Milton TTC who were very welcoming. Our group, Transition Town Christchurch applied for the Ping! indoor table and we were awarded the grant for a wheelchair-friendly Corneilleau table.”