29 Apr 2018

Proceedings at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in the Swedish west coast resort of Hamstad scheduled to start on Sunday 29th April but prior to play commencing there has been a hive of activity.

Notably in the week prior to the first ball been hit in anger in the state-of-the-art local arena: England’s Steve Rowe visited a host of local schools to conduct Aerobic Table Tennis fitness sessions.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

The goal was to attract children to follow the ensuing events in the Halmstad Arena.

Quite incredibly, over a five day period 500 children took part in the initiative.

“I could not be more happy with the response here in Halmstad. The kids and teachers have gone Aerobic Table Tennis crazy.” Steve Rowe

The first day was at the Halmstad University Gymnasium Hall: some 200 children came along from Linehed School, all aged between six and 12 years old. We ran two sessions, no less than 100 children in each session.

“The energy in the room was electric, all the children beaming with big smiles; teachers commented that Aerobic TT is a fabulous physical education lesson. Schools are always on the search for new innovative ideas to get kids active, some of the schools said they will continue to deliver Aerobic Table Tennis each week after the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships.” Steve Rowe

Children involved but somewhat contrary to expectations, the opposite end of the age spectrum was not forgotten. Steve Rowe was asked by the organisers if he would visit a retirement home for the over 75 year olds. The oldest participant was 93 years young. Enthused, Steve Rowe responded immediately.

“Some residents were sitting in wheelchairs but this did not stop them joining in the session. I decided to play music that I thought all the residents would know. To see everyone swaying from side to side with a table tennis bat in hand, to the music of Louis Armstrong “What A Wonderful World” was a goose bump moment. The grand finale for the residents was ole blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, New York New York.” Steve Rowe

Furthermore, the residents were clearly motivated. The icing on the cake was that some residents asked if they could keep a bat and ball and to practise their skills; for Steve Rowe that was pure gold! Now he is looking forward eagerly to visit more retirement homes.

“My thanks to Camilla Axelsson for being my driver and organiser for all the sessions.” Steve Rowe

Daily sessions will now run at the town centre.

All together now (Photo: Daniel Borjesson)
2018 World Team Championships Steve Rowe

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