The table tennis craze that swept London this month attracted well over 30,000 people to play the game 124,000 times, new figures released today have revealed.
ETTA’s chief executive, Richard Yule, said: “The huge success of Ping! underlines the wide appeal of table tennis and highlights the demand for our sport at all levels. It also demonstrates the fantastic value table tennis presents as a vehicle to get people active.”
The project, run by arts charity Sing London and the English Table Tennis Association and backed by Sport England and sponsors Yahoo!, saw 100 temporary and permanent tables set up and made free to use at London landmarks such as Heathrow Airport, Westfield Shopping Centre and the Barbican.
Other key results released today include:
– Due to their popularity, 27 of the 50 temporary tables will now remain in place, including those at St Pancras International, Regents Park and the O2 Arena
– All other tables have been donated to local parks and community organisations – with 11 being donated in partnership with the original host organisation to ensure they stay in local use
– The most popular tables were the pair in Soho Square with an average of 32 people playing per hour
– People who took part told researchers they had come back for more ping pong on four occasions on average
– 340 Ping! London coaching events were held, with 2,810 people taking part
– 203 hours of table tennis coaching was delivered (almost 8 and a half days)
– 200 people took part in summer time work leagues.
None of the 100 tables were vandalised during the month – and very few bats and balls went missing. The Church Street table in Harrow had no bats lost and only two balls needed to be replaced – after they were cracked during a match.
You can find the location of all the tables here: www.pinglondon.com/play-on
Ping!London also inspired dozens of people to volunteer for sport two years ahead of the London 2012 Games. Mark Semple from Hillingdon, who has for the past month volunteered for the project, is now setting up his own club to keep the interest going in his area.
He said: “There is an unbelievable amount of talent out there and Ping! managed to bring the best out of London. It shows what can be done and we are proud of the success it has been.”
Sport England supported the project with National Lottery investment. Sport England Chair Richard Lewis said:
“Thanks to Ping!, more than 30,000 Londoners have got back into table tennis and become part of the 2012 sporting legacy. With three-quarters of the tables staying exactly where they are, this table tennis craze is set to grow and grow.”
Meera Sodha, Ping! project manager, said: “We’re delighted that thousands of Londoners have enjoyed playing ping pong all over the city, from stations to museums and squares to airports, it’s really put a smile back on the face of London.”
Andrew Cocker, Head of UK Marketing, Yahoo, said: “Fun is central to Yahoo!, and we thought that the chance to play table tennis in iconic locations across London was a lot of fun – and we’re delighted that over 30,000 people agreed with us.”