Time for table tennis

Kelmscott School students playing table tennis with paralympian Ashley Thompson
Kelmscott School students with paralympian Ashley Thompson, centre, with head of PE Maria Mandoza, centre left, and assistant headteacher Mark Smith, centre right

Paralympian visits Walthamstow school for a game of ping pong

Table tennis is becoming a big hit at a Walthamstow school after two outdoor tables were donated by a national charity.

The tables were gifted to Kelmscott School by the Jack Petchey Foundation, which runs its own table tennis programme and organises competitions. The school already has four indoor tables, but because of demand they are not always available.

Pupils at the school in Markhouse Road were recently inspired by the visit of paralympian Ashley Thompson. Ashley, from Bethnal Green, is currently ranked ninth in the world.

Mark Smith, assistant head teacher at Kelmscott, said: “These tables are a roaring success and we are pleased table tennis is proving so popular with our students. They consider it a safe and comfortable sport to play.

“All the tables are being well used and we can now offer inter-school games and tournaments with our local adult education centre, the college and our local primary schools. Our wheelchair users are fans and we plan to run tailored clubs during school holidays.

“Having Ashley here has been a real bonus. He is passionate about table tennis and the students really enjoyed their session with him. You never know one day we might have our own champion to celebrate thanks to Jack Petchey and Tennis Table England.”

Meanwhile, a table tennis player from Leyton took top honours at the annual Jack Petchey London and Essex Schools’ Table Tennis Singles Finals. Held last month at the University of East London, the competition bought together a 109 players from 58 schools across London and Essex.

In the girls’ under-19 competition, Higham Park School pupil Tiana Dennison beat defending champion Natalia Ianau, from west London. Tiana, 17, has been playing since the age of nine and is coached by her dad John. Tiana said: “I love this game and want to play at the top one day. I love winning and the trophies look good on the shelf too!”