by Ian Marshall
Consider Thorsten Gohl in the Canadian city of Yellowknife, a mere 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle. In the past when there were no restrictions, he has organised play in the Snowking Castle and on an ice table!
Playing in such conditions, you are not going to witness the level of play extolled by the likes of Ma Long and Fan Zhendong but you will witness one of the great attributes of World Table Tennis Day; smiling faces, a fact stressed by Thorsten Gohl.
“Our aim is to make better human beings, the idea of creating professional athletes is minimal, it’s well down the agenda; the main thing is that young people have a meaningful activity, and they have fun.” Thorsten Gohl.
Only the very few will progress to international standard but the vast majority who played table tennis in their teenage years, and younger, learnt self-discipline, a skill that may prove invaluable in later life.
Eventually, table tennis may not be the sport pursued but it may give an introduction to sport, that may prove invaluable in later life. It is very much the philosophy of Thorsten Gohl.
“They play table tennis but then they go to hockey, we have no problem with that situation. If the skills learnt playing table tennis enable a young person to excel in another sport, then that it fine by us.” Thorsten Gohl
Unfortunately, owing to the pandemic, last year and this year the organisation of events has been vastly restricted but in previous years the numbers have been quite stunning; for how many was one or more of the events on itineraries an introduction to sport?
Providing the opportunities to try sport, it is one of the major values of World Table Tennis Day, opening doors to meaningful activities, helping create a better society and above all, having fun!