Premier League 4 Sport - Table Tennis
Fred Perry Urban Cup Table Tennis Experience
Newcastle United Foundation, in conjunction with a new initiative called Premier League 4 Sport, has been creating chances for local school children to participate in 4 different sports, one of which is Table Tennis.
Since early 2010 youngsters from schools in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside have been given an opportunity to try out this indoor racket game.
Lisa Bell who co-ordinates the project on behalf of Newcastle United Foundation said “Working in partnership with the English Table Tennis Association and Cramlington Table Tennis Club the project has set up 4 table tennis satellite clubs to enable youngsters to experience the game, teach them the basic skills and offer a chance to further those skills through the nominated Hub club at Cramlington”.
Competition is an important element of any sport and since September 2010 the youngsters at the table tennis satellites have been preparing for an exciting experience that is the Fred Perry Table Tennis Urban Cup, a nationwide Table Tennis team competition aimed at a grassroots level of participation within major towns and inner city areas. The competition is restricted to boys and girls between the ages of 11 to 15.
Alan Hedley, ETTA Coach, is running the sessions at the satellites and describes the Fred Perry initiative –“This is a rare opportunity for grass roots’ youngsters to take part in a national competition aimed at the level that can be expected from players of their experience. Level 1 of the competition has involved the youngsters at each of the satellites to identify the top 2 players, boys and girls, at that site. These boys and girls then moved to Level 2 which was a further competition, held on a Round Robin basis, at Cramlington Table Tennis Club. The winners and runners up from the boys and girls will now go on to the National Finals, to be held in London in February 2011.”
Sarah Sharif, a pupil at Heaton Manor School, won the girls competition and Chloe Allen, Whickham School and Sports College, was runner up. Sarah said “The final at Cramlington was a real challenge, but enjoyable. I never expected to win and know that I must now put in some extra practice to prepare me for the Finals in London.”
Lewis Houston, Whickham and Ahmed Sharif, Heaton Manor, were the boys’ winner and runner up. Lewis said “I really enjoy table tennis. I think that the opportunity to attend the satellite club and the coaching received has improved my game. I still have time to improve further for the National finals in February.”
Newcastle United offers their congratulations to the youngsters and best wishes for their visit to London where they will be competing against the winners from the other 19 Premier League football teams.