Table Tennis hits the road
Gary Baker on 22/03/2010
People sometimes say they would have a go at a sport if they knew where to go. So Welsh table tennis supremo Ryan Jenkins has decided to help the public out and, instead of them looking around, he is bringing the game to them.
National coach Jenkins is loading a table, bats, balls and a net into a vehicle and touring Wales to give people the chance to try it out.
"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Jenkins, who is based in Cardiff but taking his Table Tennis Road-show to all points on the Principality's compass during a week in April.
He takes it to Mid and North Wales on Monday and Tuesday April 19 and 20, heads to the Welsh Primary Schools Championships in Cardiff on Wednesday April 21 before travelling the length of the M4 motorway from South East to West Wales the following two days.
Jenkins added: "Basically, it will be a case of throw a table tennis table into a van and off we go on tour around the country."
He is hoping to rope in some of the Scarlets rugby side to grab a bat and have a go, and may set-up in some rather 'unusual' places as well.
"Maybe we will be in shopping centres, service stations and town centres, we have not decided yet. We will have information to pass on about the nearest club.
"We will try and hit some schools as well but only if there is a table tennis club near them."
It is an interesting concept to spread the word, and, while Jenkins, his brother Stephen, and Adam Robinson look to bring home a medal from the Delhi Commonwealth Games in October, the future beyond that is looking very rosy.
Wales is looking good 'more so with the girls than the boys'. Jenkins added: "They range from 13 years old to 15 and are very talented. In four years time (Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014), they are going to be really good."
So enthused is Jenkins about the crop of teenagers that he is hoping to 'relocate' them to Cardiff where they can complete their education while practising.
"They are scattered around," he said. "There are two players in Denbigh, one in Tredegar, the Rhondda, Bristol and Cardiff."
However, the Road-show is not just about identifying the next untapped talent but just giving anyone a chance to have a go.
The National Championships took place earlier this month and, while the elite were providing some spectacular entertainment, the veterans were enjoying themselves as well.
"There were players in their 70s and 80s at the table," added the national coach. So, it seems, you are never too old to pick up a bat!
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