AN upgrade of the ACT Table Tennis Centre has revitalised the old weatherboard building that accommodates five tables and facilities for its 400 Canberra players.
Board member Pat McGinn, who plays in the seniors competition, says the ageing Kingston facility received a new floor, paintwork, security system, air conditioning and the opening up of its kitchen and walkway areas as part of a $34,000 covid sport-sector support funding grant from the ACT government.
Members also chipped in time and energy to help with pulling up old carpet and painting to make the renovation a reality.
Pat says the building can’t be expanded, so they use facilities at the Tuggeranong archery centre for larger competitions.
Table tennis had been big among social clubs, much before rugby became established as a popular sport.
“But it has seen a decline in importance, which is connected to the fact that ACT was never able to establish a bigger venue,” she says.
She says the centre is now more accessible and open, creating more space for members to socially distance while enjoying the sport and the company of others.
“It is a very multicultural sport with players from a huge number of ethnic backgrounds and age groups,” says Pat, whose husband Bill is an avid player and aged in his 90s.
Pat says that she and Bill had been active in playing badminton and cycling together in the past, but were drawn to table tennis about 10 years ago after Pat had knee surgery and found that the low impact of table tennis suited her.
“You need to be quick and keep your brain moving fast, so it’s great for seniors to keep active,” she says.
Pat says that the recent three-month closure of the centre due to covid restrictions highlighted for some members how much table tennis adds to their social lives, with many members living alone saying they missed their regular games.
“Table Tennis ACT has been very active in the development of a group of athletes with a disability,” says Pat.
“There is also a thriving junior group, small groups within schools plus an elite group who receive extra training and play with great success interstate and nationally,” she says.
Table Tennis ACT, corner of Canberra Avenue and Dawes Street, Griffith. Visit tabletennisact.org.au