The incredible Les D'Arcy
Photo By: Courtesy of BRITDOC and Banyak Films
Chosen as one of the Torch Bearers, as preparations gain momentum for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Les D’Arcy is a self-confessed sports’ fanatic.
The man who hails from the town of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, the heartland of Rugby League Football, is arguably the fittest 90 year old on planet earth.
There are few who can compare with the nonagenarian.
He is a triathlete, weight lifter, track and field athlete and moreover, most importantly of all, he is a table tennis player; he is featured in the film Ping Pong.
Eight Featured Players
Les D’Arcy is one of eight players over the age of 80, whose travels from their homes to Hohhot in Mongolia for the 2010 World Veteran Championships are documented in the production.
However, for Les D’Arcy the journey was somewhat different than the one he took in 1984. In that year when the World Veteran Championships were staged in Finland, he travelled from his home to Helsinki on his bicycle!
Supported by the Wellcome Trust and presented by BRITDOC and Banyak Films, the date for release of the film in the United Kingdom is Friday 6th July 2012.
Defying All Odds
In addition to Les D’Arcy, the 80 minute feature film, highlights a group of remarkable people; in particular Terry Donlon.
At the age of four, he was taken what he thought were the local swimming baths. They were not swimming baths, it was an orphanage. He never saw his father again and at the age of 14, he almost died from tuberculosis, he spent a year in hospital.
Suffered from Cancer
From the north of England, the intrepid table tennis player, spent much of his life working with asbestos, one effect was that he contracted prostrate and kidney cancer; now, only 40 per cent of his lungs work and in order to play table tennis he uses a nebuliser to supply pure oxygen.
In addition to the two Englishmen, the film features Germany’s Ursula Bihl and Inge Hermann, both 90 years old.
Gerhard, the son and coach of Ursula Bihl, is convinced that table tennis keeps his mother alive; whilst for Inge Hermann, the sport has enabled her to recover from dementia and alzheimers.
Also highlighted in the documentary are Sweden’s Rune Forsberg and China’s Sun Lao.
Rune Forsberg is a major rival of Les D’Arcy, like the Englishman he will be competing in the World Veteran Championships in Stockholm later this year.
Meanwhile, 84 year old Sun Lao from China defies medical thinking; his daughters want him to stop smoking or at least cut down but he is adamant that socialising combined with table tennis keeps him alive!
In addition the travels of Lisa Modlich from the United States are monitored.
She is a fierce competitor and hails originally from Vienna. During the Second World War she was a member of the French Resistance and helped smuggle Jews out of Austria; she received the Croix de Guerre for her efforts.
The Most Senior
Completing the octet is the centenarian, Australia’s Doris de Low; she is now 101 years old; her life is the life of table tennis.
Originally from the United Kingdom, she moved to live in Sydney, Australia when two years old and started to play table tennis in the 1970s, the year her husband and daughter sadly died.
She is estimated to be the oldest sporting competitor in the world.
A fascinating film, which both Hollywood actress, Susan Sarandon and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, have endorsed, it promises to be an engrossing production.
For further information contact email@example.com or visit www.pingpongfilm.co.uk