Ping! Initiative

Aug 10th, 2011No Comments

Less than a year away from the Olympics, London is preparing for the media circus that inevitably accompanies such a globalized event. Locals are especially excited about hosting and hope that their nation’s best athletes will serve them well—- protecting the Mother Land, as they would say across the pond. Unquestionably, the English will look to medal in the three events that have been their best historically: athletics, rowing, and sailing. But as I’ve mentioned in earlier blog post, there is a strong desire to medal in table tennis in particular.

The reason for this dates back to 1880.

1880, Great Britain—- A couple upper-class elites were bored after a riveting dinner party. Buzzed off of wine and scotch, a few men decided they wanted to play a game. They began setting up a row of books along the center of the dinning room table. One man picked up a golf ball and a book (the original racquet—- no pimples), and proceeded to hit the golf ball over the net. And so, the game of table tennis was born, or as they called it then, “wiff-waff.”

As the inventors of the sport, the British feel a certain national pride behind ending the Asian domination of table tennis at next year’s Olympics. Drinkhall is one of many Brits behind the cause.

In light of the sport’s recent resurgence in the United Kingdom, David Goobold and Chris Craig began the Ping! Initiative, which aims to get more people involved in sport in the run up to the Olympics. In short, they’ve brought table tennis to the streets on London, outside of some of the nations largest business headquarters, in an effort to increase participation and interest. In total, they have set up nearly 100 ping-pong tables across London for the public to play on.

Ping! Initiative

Covent Garden, London, UK

Paul Drinkhall: Quest for an Olympic Medal

Aug 3rd, 2011No Comments

2011 WCPP participant, Paul Drinkhall, has been fervently preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London, eagerly awaiting his opportunity to defend his home turf. Drinkhall, the top table tennis player in the United Kingdom since the age of 16, is entering his prime at the age of 21, and believes that he has the ability to put an end to the Chinese domination in table tennis at next year’s summer Olympics.

Drinkhall has always had immense respect for the way in which the Chinese train their table tennis players. In order to receive training and exposure, Drinkhall has visited China annually since he was little kid. He’s been quoted saying that in order to become a better player, it is necessary to play against Chinese players.

One of the many lessons Drinkhall has learned from Chinese players is the importance of commitment. He highlights the fact that while European players tend to seek a balanced life (between professional table tennis and other lines of work), Chinese players devout all their energy to their training. Drinkhall has now picked up a twice-a-day, three-hour training schedule that was modeled after his Chinese counterparts.

Root for Paul Drinkhall in the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games!

Paul Drinkhall