Youngsters from the Arsenal Community Table Tennis Club were given a professional masterclass last week when British number three, Gavin Rumgay, dropped in to William Ellis School in Camden to showcase his skills and provide coaching expertise.
The visit coincided with the local launch of the annual Fred Perry Table Tennis Urban Cup, a competition run in conjunction with the Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) programme and English Table Tennis Association (ETTA), which sees all 20 Premier League Clubs link in with regional table tennis community clubs to encourage and inspire youngsters to get involved in the sport.
Local competitions will take place throughout October and November at Arsenal in the Community's local satellite clubs in order to find the lucky individuals who will progress to regional inter-satellite competitions and eventually get the chance to represent Arsenal at the Fred Perry Urban Cup National Final in December.
During his visit, Gavin passed on words of wisdom to the young hopefuls (and some staff!) and took part in a ‘return of serve' challenge, which gave each participant the opportunity to test their skills against the Scottish number one.
Also involved on the day was Omkar Torgalkar, ranked the seventh best player in England, who is currently working with Arsenal in the Community on a table tennis research programme looking at the sport's appeal with young people.
Omkar commented: "I have been doing my research at Arsenal since September and it is great to come out and meet the young people that all of this work is going towards. They clearly love the sport which can only be a good thing and if Gavin and myself coming down can spread awareness and excitement for the sport then that's brilliant. The Fred Perry Urban Cup this year will be awesome!"
Alan Sefton, Head of Arsenal in the Community, added: "We were really pleased to welcome Gavin to William Ellis School, as well as Omkar who we know well through his research project here. It is wonderful to see so many youngsters playing table tennis with such enthusiasm and energy, which will only grow with the top work that our coach Steve is doing with them."
Over the past year, Arsenal in the Community has made fantastic strides with its table tennis programme. Arsenal Community Table Tennis Club has recently been affiliated to the ETTA, achieving ‘Premier Club' status. The Club has also had some very impressive results at the table, both in team competitions and individually.
The Fred Perry Urban Cup local competitions will take place at all of Arsenal in the Community's Satellite Clubs in Islington, Camden and Hackney in October and November. Anyone secondary school aged can take part. For information on sessions and venues, please see www.arsenal.com/community or contact Ross McKinley on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0207 704 4147.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Oct 2011