Table Tennis England has awarded scholarships to 28 female coaches to help them finance the cost of coaching courses.

The scholarships will cover 50% of the cost of either Level 1 or Level 2 courses and are payable on successful completion of the course.

The initiative was set up to help increase the number of female participants in the sport and originally planned to provide up to 10 scholarships.

However, there was so much interest that Table Tennis England has made more funding available, meaning all 28 applicants will receive the bursary.

The announcement co-incides with Women’s Sport Week 2016, which celebrates, raises awareness and increases the profile of women’s sport.

The success of initiatives like This Girl Can, which inspired 2.8 million women to be more active in the year following its launch, prove that ladies and girls are looking for new ways of getting fit, and studies show they are more likely to take up a sport if their coach is of the same sex.

Table Tennis England’s Head of Workforce, Greg Yarnall, said: “We had a fantastic response to our call for more women to start or develop their coaching and it is with great pleasure that Table Tennis England is able to make a contribution to nearly 30 coach scholarships to help grow the number of women coaching in our sport.

“We hope that these new coaches will help to be positive role models and encourage more women and girls to start playing and stay in the sport once they have started. We look forward to supporting these coaches at the start of their coaching journey.”

Among the applicants to receive the scholarship are Emily Standing and Rachael Scott.

Rachael, aged 17, said: “I am very grateful for the support that I have been granted, this support will enable me to attend and hopefully complete my level one coaching badge and then hopefully succeed onto level two.

“Currently at my school, which is for girls, I run a weekly club at lunch times. Hopefully once I have gained the qualification, I’d like to use it to further improve some of my players and enter them in competitions and enter a team into the ESTTA schools county qualification.

“Since I am still currently at a girls’ school it gives me an opportunity to encourage girls first hand to get active via table tennis, as the girls that attend were not particularly the sporting type prior to attending.”

Emily said: “This female coach scholarship will help me to gain the badges I need to encourage more women and girls in and around Bristol to get involved in table tennis, especially within the primary schools I teach where we want to get as many girls active as possible!”

Do you know an inspiring female coach or someone who helps get more women and girls active? If so, why not nominate them for the Pride of Table Tennis Awards – as either Coach of the Year or for the Inclusivity Award? Click here for more information.

To find out more about Women in Sport week, click here