It’s been my dream for the past two years to get a UK squad to play table tennis at the PingPongParkinson® (PPP), ITTF Parkinsons World Table Tennis Championships (PWTTC) which was achieved with great success after a whirlwind three week, three tournaments triumph.
See my back story in the TT Blog posts from when I first started, pre-covid
After contacting the inaugural event leader and founder of PingPongParkinson®, Nenad Bach I was informed there wasn’t a British player at the initial tournament in New York in 2019, so I made it my mission to correct that for the second PWTTC event which was finally held last weekend on 9-11 September 2021 in Berlin. Despite covid restrictions during the intervening period, I was able to reach out across the UK to find similar individuals with Parkinson’s who also wanted to play in a World Championship.
The dream came true, with unimaginable success, within a three week span. Starting with the first UK PingPongParkinson® National Tournament held at St Neot’s Table Tennis club on Sat 21 August. 24 players from England, Scotland and Wales attended, which for several of them went on to be life changing experience.
St Neot’s tournament event report from Table Tennis England, where the Suffolk leader managed to get a Silver medal in the singles open competition.
Following the success of the St Neot’s National Championship, a sponsor windfall donation enabled three of the medal winners, Jan Fuller, George Chan & Nick Beswick, the opportunity to join 11 other British players at the ITTF PWTTC in Berlin just three weeks later.
Whilst the rest of the team finalised their travel plans, last minute training and covid passes, three scouts set off to play in the PingPongParkinson® German Open tournament held in Nordhorn 3-5 Sept: Liz Houghton, Andrew Cassy & Martyn Symons. The event was four times larger than our UK tournament, with over 90 players from 10 countries represented. We surpassed our own expectations and each came away with a medal despite tough opposition [Men’s Doubles – Bronze, Mixed Doubles – Silver]
Next we took Berlin… 14 of us went on to attend the PWTTC just three weeks after the UK National event – 7 England, 5 Scotland, 1 Wales (+ 1 Chile associate who lives in Brighton!). After three gruelling days, 7am pick-up through to 7pm return we did our countries, and mums, proud. Two World Champions – Jan Fuller, Ladies Singles Class 1 Gold + George Chan with Nenad Bach, Mens Doubles Class 2 Gold; plus a Silver, Mixed Doubles [Fuller + Chan] and 5 further Bronze medals, plus several more players reaching the consolation Plate competition semi / finals. All the players and partners had an amazing experience which has changed all our lives to follow your dreams and try your best, despite whatever condition you are dealing with.
Read the TTE news report of the ITTF PWTTC 2021 Success Story Poem by Liz Houghton to the teams captain Top man Andrew Cassy Leads the best team on the planet. Their hearts are made of oak And their heads are made of granite. He brought us from the UK And bound us to his side To challenge would-be upstarts Who came from far and wide. We have worked our socks off And done everything we can To render unto Cassy The things we owe this man. He brought us all this way and encouraged self belief, All hail to Andrew Cassy We swear loyalty to our Chief!!! I am so proud of the whole team’s achievements, including partners and sponsors who helped the Parkinson’s people through this memorable achievement.