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Table tennis coach who turns 80 this year has devoted his life to the sport

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Table tennis coach who turns 80 this year has devoted his life to the sport

Table tennis coach who turns 80 this year has devoted his life to the sport

A table tennis coach who turns 80 this year says he is so devoted to the sport - that he never got married.

Chris Town, 79, has been thrilling table tennis courts around the globe since he was just seven years old - a love affair that spanned across seven decades.

But his commitment to the sport hasn't come without its sacrifices, as the sharpshooting coach has never wed and blames that on being "married" to the sport.

Chris said he has come close to tying the knot on four occasions, the latest in 2010, but table tennis "got in the way".

Shortly after his last engagement, his wife-to-be asked him if he was going to quit the sport - which left Chris with no choice but to call the wedding off.

Fortunately, the sportsman has had more success on his beloved courts where he boasts being one of the oldest coaches at one of the oldest table tennis clubs in the UK - and has won over 70 trophies.

Chris, from Bradford, West Yorks., said: "Table tennis is the reason I never married.

I nearly married four times, and each time it was the same - table tennis got in the way.

"I'm married to the sport.

"The last time I was supposed to be getting married I had everything planned.

I had a band, the ring, everyone was invited - but I had to call it off.

"She said to me, 'I hope you're not going to be playing table tennis when we're married' - and after that I ended it.

"She made me pick between her and table tennis but table tennis was always going to win.

"I started playing when I was just seven, and it's been my lover ever since - I hope to keep playing for many years more." The Hermits table tennis club, in Bradford, West Yorks., was founded in 1946 just after the war and has been a "home away from home" for Chris since he first picked up a paddle in 1947.

The nimble man became a full-time coach in 1963 and has been employed at the club since 1986 where he's faithfully spent each Tuesday and Friday coaching aspiring players, aged between five and 85.

He said he doesn't expect to stop anytime soon as he still feels young and hopes to continue to inspire as many people - young and old alike - to pick up a paddle.

Chris said: "I think I'm going to play table tennis until the day I die.

"I was obsessed with the sport - as a boy I'd always go and watch everyone play and I was mesmerised by that tiny white ball.

"The first time I played table tennis I had a paddle and I was at my aunt's house and we hit the ball on her table with a net attached across it.

"Seventy years later and I'm still playing the same game with the same paddle on the same table - and there hasn't been a day I haven't played." Chris added: "Hermits is one of the oldest clubs in the UK, an institution I'm proud to be a part of, and I must be one of the oldest coaches.

"I've been doing this for so long, I've coached entire generations of players." The table tennis wizard used to ping balls across his aunt's kitchen table and says he spent most of his afternoons growing up watching other players at the Hermits table tennis club.

He was finally invited to play at the club when he was nine years old, and hasn't stopped playing ever since.

He moved to Australia and then South Africa in the 60s where he worked for a joinery and owned a supermarket business and an engineering firm - while moonlighting as a champion table tennis coach.

His table tennis career nearly came to a devastating end in 1963 when he lost two fingers and a thumb after a planing machine accident left his hand "completely mangled".

He was admitted to the Melville Rehabilitation Centre where he began training other disabled patients, some of whom had no legs or only one arm.

He said: "I moved to Australia to follow the wool trade but ended up working for the Finger Jointers - that's where I suffered the worst accident of my life.

"I was working on some wood, when my hand got stuck and it felt like my fingers were getting sucked in.

"I pulled out as quickly as I could but it was too late and I was rushed to hospital.

My fingers were horribly mangled and I was rushed to hospital.

"I was panicking because I was in so much pain and the doctor said I may lose my hand entirely and all I could think about was if I was going to be able to play table tennis again.

"I have two claw-like fingers but thankfully it was my left hand, and I'm a righty.

"It took me six months to hold a spoon again and I had to learn how to pick things up, but that experience gave me a new appreciation for what it's like for people with disabilities.

"I started coaching other patients in the rehab while training myself back - which is when I realised table tennis was the best sport, especially for those in wheelchairs." The octogenarian moved back to Bradford in 1986, where he has also coached wheelchair-bound players at Pinderfields Hospital in West Yorkshire.

He was offered a coaching role at the Hermits club by his old pal Arthur Bowers and has been coaching there ever since.

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Table tennis coach who turns 80 this year has devoted his life to the sport

A table tennis coach who turns 80 this year says he is so devoted to the sport - that he never got married.

Chris Town, 79, has been thrilling table tennis courts around the globe since he was just seven years old - a love affair that spanned across seven decades.

But his commitment to the sport hasn't come without its sacrifices, as the sharpshooting coach has never wed and blames that on being "married" to the sport.

Chris said he has come close to tying the knot on four occasions, the latest in 2010, but table tennis "got in the way".

Shortly after his last engagement, his wife-to-be asked him if he was going to quit the sport - which left Chris with no choice but to call the wedding off.

Fortunately, the sportsman has had more success on his beloved courts where he boasts being one of the oldest coaches at one of the oldest table tennis clubs in the UK - and has won over 70 trophies.

Chris, from Bradford, West Yorks., said: "Table tennis is the reason I never married.

I nearly married four times, and each time it was the same - table tennis got in the way.

"I'm married to the sport.

"The last time I was supposed to be getting married I had everything planned.

I had a band, the ring, everyone was invited - but I had to call it off.

"She said to me, 'I hope you're not going to be playing table tennis when we're married' - and after that I ended it.

"She made me pick between her and table tennis but table tennis was always going to win.

"I started playing when I was just seven, and it's been my lover ever since - I hope to keep playing for many years more." The Hermits table tennis club, in Bradford, West Yorks., was founded in 1946 just after the war and has been a "home away from home" for Chris since he first picked up a paddle in 1947.

The nimble man became a full-time coach in 1963 and has been employed at the club since 1986 where he's faithfully spent each Tuesday and Friday coaching aspiring players, aged between five and 85.

He said he doesn't expect to stop anytime soon as he still feels young and hopes to continue to inspire as many people - young and old alike - to pick up a paddle.

Chris said: "I think I'm going to play table tennis until the day I die.

"I was obsessed with the sport - as a boy I'd always go and watch everyone play and I was mesmerised by that tiny white ball.

"The first time I played table tennis I had a paddle and I was at my aunt's house and we hit the ball on her table with a net attached across it.

"Seventy years later and I'm still playing the same game with the same paddle on the same table - and there hasn't been a day I haven't played." Chris added: "Hermits is one of the oldest clubs in the UK, an institution I'm proud to be a part of, and I must be one of the oldest coaches.

"I've been doing this for so long, I've coached entire generations of players." The table tennis wizard used to ping balls across his aunt's kitchen table and says he spent most of his afternoons growing up watching other players at the Hermits table tennis club.

He was finally invited to play at the club when he was nine years old, and hasn't stopped playing ever since.

He moved to Australia and then South Africa in the 60s where he worked for a joinery and owned a supermarket business and an engineering firm - while moonlighting as a champion table tennis coach.

His table tennis career nearly came to a devastating end in 1963 when he lost two fingers and a thumb after a planing machine accident left his hand "completely mangled".

He was admitted to the Melville Rehabilitation Centre where he began training other disabled patients, some of whom had no legs or only one arm.

He said: "I moved to Australia to follow the wool trade but ended up working for the Finger Jointers - that's where I suffered the worst accident of my life.

"I was working on some wood, when my hand got stuck and it felt like my fingers were getting sucked in.

"I pulled out as quickly as I could but it was too late and I was rushed to hospital.

My fingers were horribly mangled and I was rushed to hospital.

"I was panicking because I was in so much pain and the doctor said I may lose my hand entirely and all I could think about was if I was going to be able to play table tennis again.

"I have two claw-like fingers but thankfully it was my left hand, and I'm a righty.

"It took me six months to hold a spoon again and I had to learn how to pick things up, but that experience gave me a new appreciation for what it's like for people with disabilities.

"I started coaching other patients in the rehab while training myself back - which is when I realised table tennis was the best sport, especially for those in wheelchairs." The octogenarian moved back to Bradford in 1986, where he has also coached wheelchair-bound players at Pinderfields Hospital in West Yorkshire.

He was offered a coaching role at the Hermits club by his old pal Arthur Bowers and has been coaching there ever since.




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UK table tennis coach who turns 80 this year has devoted his life to the sport

A table tennis coach who turns 80 this year says he is so devoted to the sport that he never got married.

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