Council serves up free table tennis sessions across Leeds

Caption: L-R England table tennis international Shayan Siraj, 12, at the launch of Ping! Leeds with Councillor Katherine Mitchell and Linda Sanderson, of the council's library and information service, who is Leeds and Bradford ladies table tennis champion.

Visitors to Trinity Kitchen got some table service with a difference when they got to see one of the country’s top young ping pong stars in action.

England table tennis international Shayan Siraj, 12, was at the shopping centre’s food court earlier today (Thursday) to launch the new Ping! Leeds campaign, backed by Leeds City Council, which aims to get more people playing the sport this summer.

After seeing Shayan’s skills first hand, customers then got the chance to battle it out to see who were the city’s ping pong supremos.

As well as Trinity Kitchen, Ping! Leeds will see twenty five tables springing up across the city until the end of August at locations including Leeds Kirkgate Market, Roundhay Park Tropical World and Temple Newsam.

Councillor Katherine Mitchell, Leeds City Council’s lead member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:

“Table tennis is a really fun sport that people of all ages and abilities can play, so these free tables will be a great way of encouraging people to get active when they’re out and about around Leeds this summer.

“We’ve picked a really exciting and varied list of locations for tables too which should give everyone the chance to pick up a bat and enjoy a game.”

Paul Smith, marketing manager at Trinity Leeds, added:

“Ping! is such a great idea and a perfect fit for Trinity Kitchen which is all about delivering new and exciting experiences. We’re delighted to be hosting a table and can’t wait get hold of a bat for ourselves and give it a go!”

Leeds is one of 16 regions that have been selected to be part of Ping! this year, including Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Sheffield.

As well as the free tables, Leeds’s Ping! initiative will also feature a programme of activities, including masterclasses and tournaments.

Sally Shutt, coach development officer with Table Tennis England, said:

“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase table tennis as a sport for all which has huge appeal to both young and old, expert and novice, able and disabled alike.

“The people of Leeds will find tables in various locations throughout the city and be able to join in a variety of fun activities including master classes and competitions for free.”


For more information please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk


Notes to Editors:

About Ping!

Ping! is produced by Sing London, the participatory arts organisation whose citywide projects aim to lift the public’s spirit. Previous projects include London’s Street Pianos Project and Talking Rubbish bins. Sing London believe it often takes just a small intervention – such as a public ping pong table - to generate social interaction and make cities feel happier places to be.

Ping! is developed in partnership with Table Tennis England, the national governing body for table tennis. It is funded by Sport England through National Lottery funding as part of their aim to get more people playing sport at least once a week.

Ping pong factfile:

-‘Flim-Flam', 'Gossima', 'Whiff Whaff’, ‘Table Tennis’, ‘Ping Pong’ - whatever the name, it began as an English parlour game in the 1890's and was played on a dining room table

- The original bat was a book! Today, bats are made of wood or plastic

- According to Sport England’s Active People Survey, table tennis is the fastest growing sport for women with participation doubling in the last 5 years

- Table tennis was admitted as a full medal sport at the Seoul Olympics in 1988

- Current world powers in table tennis are China, Korea, Japan and Germany

- Table tennis is one of the fastest growing sports in England: 98,800 people now play table tennis once a week