One of the largest table tennis tournaments in the world begins today with 4,600 competitors taking part in the 18th World Veterans’ Championships in Alicante, Spain.

England has a contingent of around 250 players, including several of the recntly crowned VETTS National Champions and previous World and European Veterans’ Champions.

The week-long event takes place every two years and comprises singles and doubles events in nine age bands of five or 10 years from O/40 to O/90. It will be played on 165 competition tables and more than 17,000 individual matches will have taken place before the championship ends.

The competitors come from 80 countries and the organisers pride themselves on it being not only the largest table tennis event in the world, but also the most friendly.

Sandra Deaton, Chairman of Table Tennis England, said: “I am so proud that so many of our veteran players are competing in Alicante for the World Veterans’ Championships.

“We often say that table tennis is a sport for all, for life and our veteran players are a credit to our game, showing that not only can it be enjoyed from eight to 80 (and beyond), but can be played at such a high level over the generations.”