One of the coaching sessions under way in Gibraltar

Michael Fox is on a mission to lead table tennis in Gibraltar into a new era.

The chairman of Bedford Community TTC took on the role of development officer and coach in the British Overseas Territory in October.

Michael Fox

He brings experience of working for Team Beds & Luton – the County Sports Partnership – on the Get Back Into programme, which promotes a healthier and more active lifestyle.

It was as part of this programme that he was a driving force behind setting up Bedford Community in May 2010 and he is now aiming to translate that success to the Mediterranean territory, which has a population of 30,000 and an area of just six square kilometres.

He said: “I was looking for a new challenge and I knew a bit about Gibraltar because my mum lived there when she was at school and I’d been there on holidays, and I felt there was an opportunity to come out here.

“Table tennis has been struggling, dwindling away. They were part of the ITTF in the past but not any more, but at some point I’m going to be trying to get back in.”

Michael has already met with success, setting up coaching sessions and advertising on social media, with a good response.

“I’m just using my experience out here,” he said. “Everything is very laid back here. People take their time, so you have to be patient.

“Some of the other sports are not as developed here, apart from football. The competition (from other sports) is not strong as it could be but we’ve got to offer a product to get people into table tennis.”

Michael has been writing a new Constitution for Table Tennis Gibraltar – which, in a similar move to Table Tennis England, has rebranded from the Gibraltar Table Tennis Association. He was also interviewed on GBC television to outline his vision for the sport, including new leagues which are in the pipeline.

Click here to watch the interview – the table tennis slot begins 11min 55sec in the bulletin.

Michael is back in the UK for the festive period, but will return to ‘the Rock’ in the new year and intends to find part-time work so he can continue his unpaid role with Table Tennis Gibraltar.

Paul Stimpson
December 27, 2014