The Ping! cities for 2016 have now been announced and the Central Area have four cities involved.

Stoke-on-Trent is a new location and has the prestigious honour of being named European City of Sport in 2016. Huge investment for sport will be coming to the city and Ping! will greatly contribute and to and from the new partnership.

Nottingham is a year-three city and so benefits from core funding. The aims for the project are to enhance three clusters in the city with equipment and promotional activity. Nottingham will be looking to take advantage of the new Tram-link system in the city, building new Ping! ‘play on opportunities’ and Ping tables locations linked to tram stops that run through the three clusters being supported.

A big welcome to Robert Lamb who is the new Sport Nottinghamshire Sporting Ambitions Officer. Robert’s role will be to support the Ping! Nottingham 2016 project.

Robert was junior champion in my local town’s league (Gainsborough and District, in Lincolnshire) and said about his new role: “I recently moved to Nottingham after studying here and then came across Sycamore TTC. Whatever your ability there is something available there which I found welcoming.

“I would say I’m passionate about trying to develop the sport and availability to people who may not have previously had the opportunity to play. I believe it is one of the most inclusive sports available and that’s why I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to work on the Ping! Project.

“Getting into coaching is my way of giving something back to the sport, having had many years of fun playing myself and I’m never going to be a world beater, I get just as much enjoyment in seeing someone else progress, through what you’ve helped them with. I like to play an attacking style, using Tenergy  FX rubber on my forehand and a MarkVM2 on the back. I have a Stiga Optimum Plus blade as it gives me a good all-round consistency.”

Meanwhile, both Leicester and Cambridge will continue with their Ping! projects and will continue the legacy work they have running from previous years. As both cities are in year 4/5 they receive no core funding but Leicester applied and were successful in their application for some innovation funding for rebranding and repairing some of the original tables.

Birmingham as a post year-four city will be running a summer rackets festival in 2016 where Ping! can still do its magic and attract new participants to our sport.