A TABLE tennis academy has served up success and returned strong numbers since launching earlier this year.
The strategic partnership between Coleg Cambria and Table Tennis Wales is focused on providing an inclusive community club programme and dedicated grassroots coaching.
Focused on all five of the college’s sites – Deeside, Northop, Llysfasi, and Yale and Bersham Road in Wrexham – the academy welcomed more than 800 people for training and fun sessions in just four months.
Regional Development Officer for North Wales Aaron Beech liaised with schools, clubs, and community organisations in a bid to find the country’s next Olympic, Commonwealth or World champion.
He said: “We have had a very busy few months and the feedback has been brilliant.
“As part of our high-performance hub we have invested in new equipment – the Yale college site now has 12 table tennis tables – and across the region we have met and trained with people of all ages.
“From students to children and older members of the community, there is a lot of talent out there, so we are trying to harness it and help people reach their potential.”
Aaron added: “We’ve had a lot of support from grassroots players and coaches across North Wales as well and are really thankful to them for volunteering their time.”
Throughout the summer, Aaron organised ‘food and fun’ sessions in Denbighshire, Anglesey, Wrexham, and Flintshire, as well as North Wales County Trials.
In collaboration with Aura (Flintshire), Active Wrexham, Denbighshire Leisure, Conwy council, Byw’n Iach, Mon Actif and primary and secondary schools, kit bags have also been distributed to prospective players, and a new relationship was forged with Disability Sport Wales.
“We’ve been holding regional and community training programmes every week and a local league, all of which have started to improve standards and provided more opportunities to play,” said Aaron.
“We’ve also started ‘How to coach table tennis’ sessions for Sports students at Yale and in December the Welsh Colleges regional competition will be held there.
“There is so much in the pipeline, we’ve made great strides and hopefully the profile of table tennis in this area will continue to grow and grow.”
Sally Jones, Cambria’s Curriculum Director for Sport, Uniformed Public Services, Business and Elite Sport, added: “This has been fantastic for our learners and also the community, the response has been so positive and there’s no doubt the Academy is providing a platform for the next generation of table tennis stars from North Wales.”