TABLE TENNIS: CHINESE passion for table tennis was ignited when visitors from Halton's twin town Tongling dropped in on a pacesetting project in the borough.
Halton is hosting one of three North-West pilot schemes with the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) as part of a national Government strategy for PE and school sport
Sponsored by the Local Network Fund and supported by Halton Borough Council, the local PE School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL) programme has enabled Halton Table Tennis Club to employ community coach Frank James to work with its senior coach Karen Tonge in Halton schools.
In the last ten months, more than 2,300 pupils have experienced up to six hours free table tennis at their schools.
There is massive interest in table tennis in China and the Tongling party did not need a second invitation to get involved.
Members of the delegation played against Mathew McCormick, a Year-6 pupil at Fairfield Junior School who is the sixth-ranked Under 11s player in England.
Mrs Tonge said: 'The Chinese delegation had all played table tennis and they were quite useful.'
Halton's PESSCL table-tennis project has so far involved more than 20 schools and can be linked to Active mark and Healthy Schools Initiatives.
Pupils can also take part in Saturday coaching sessions for £2 and then join Halton TT as a beginner for £5 annual membership plus £1 per session (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-7pm).
For further information, e-mail Karen Tonge at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Halton Table Tennis Club website at www.haltontabletennis.co.uk