I devoted some of my spare time to monitoring and evaluation activity during the ‘Ping!’ (U.K National Lottery Funded) Street Table-Tennis initiative. My efforts were part of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics Legacy Programme as one of South Yorkshire’s official ‘Sports Makers’.
I was monitoring performance-activity and collecting Table-usage data on the two Tables located outdoors in the City of Sheffield’s central Tudor Square. Data-collection involved recording details of player numbers age, gender and ethnicity on easy-to-use standard pro-formas. These were then returned to the ‘Ping!’ Project Coordinator, based at the nearby English Institute of Sport to be integrated with the data collected by others who supporting ‘Ping!’ in Sheffield similarly at competitions, parties, coaching sessions and social events.
The 100 Table-tennis Tables (and 4000 bats) involved will remain in Sheffield now the month-long Jun/July initiative has finished, just before the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games. These Tables will be located in Parks and Public Places or handed over to local groups for the general benefit of those in the local community.
The ‘Ping!’ initiative ran first in London in 2010 then, last year, in Birmingham before coming to Sheffield this year. ‘Ping!’s opportune arrival coincided with the visit of the Olympic Flame to the City (on 26th June 2012) as it journeyed the length and breadth of Great Britain, carried by a relay of 8,000 Torchbearers to London for the official opening of the 30th Olympic Games of modern times.
This is the 30th Olympiad
My own Sport Wu Shu/Kung Fu doesn’t (yet) feature in the Olympics. However, donating my time and effort as a Sports Maker encouraging the take-up of one that does (Table Tennis) enables me to make a small personal contribution to Great Britain’s first Olympiad since those of 1904 (the 4th) and 1948 (the 14th) on behalf of its many Wu Shu/Kung Fu players and Coaches. I am grateful to the ‘Sports Makers’ Programme (also funded by the U.K National Lottery) which looks for ‘people who make sport happen’ for allowing me to do this.
Both Sheffielders, those in the wider South Yorkshire community and the City’s many visitors seemed to support ‘Ping enthusiastically’ with Table-usage regularly exceeding 40 people per two-hour session at the site I’ve been monitoring, Table-tennis also seems remarkably popular with a wide-range of individuals of all ages and types, both male and female. Hopefully, individuals and organisations will support South Yorkshire Sports Makers’ further endeavours and the Olympic Games themselves similarly.
Further information about ‘Ping!’, South Yorkshire Sports Makers and the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Legacy Programme is available via the links below.