Oxford Brookes student organises inclusive event for World Table Tennis Day

Friday, 03 May 2019

Table Tennis Day 1

Oxford Brookes student Huw du Boulay recently organised a special event for World Table Tennis Day that invited players of all abilities and mobilities for a friendly game.

I’m inspired to see how OCTTC can make our sessions genuinely inclusive... Having Huw organise the event so effectively was wonderful.

Anne Borrowdale, Voluntary Development Officer at Oxford Community Table Tennis Club

With the theme of this year’s World Table Tennis Day being inclusion, Huw decided to run an inclusive event that gave different Oxford groups a chance to meet and bond. With help from the Oxford Brookes Student Impact Fund, Cheney School, KEEN Oxford and the Oxford Community Table Tennis Club (OCTTC), the project brought together different parts of the local community for a fun day of table tennis.

The event thus offered a variety of taster coaching sessions for different levels; from absolute beginner to more advanced levels. It also offered a chance for social play and used table top side panel sets to enable less mobile players to join in and compete against more mobile players.

Anne Borrowdale, Voluntary Development Officer at OCTTC, played a key role in making the event happen. Speaking about the project, she said: “I’d talked about inclusive table tennis with KEEN, but this event showed what inclusive actually looks like. I’m inspired to see how OCTTC can make our sessions genuinely inclusive, and I’ve gained ideas, experience and specialist equipment to run inclusive table tennis activities in future. 

“Having Huw organise the event so effectively was wonderful. He enabled Oxford Brookes, Cheney, KEEN and OCTTC to work together for the event, and hope we can build on those relationships for future events.”

As well as playing against each other, the event also offered participants the novel experience of being able to play against a robot. As a bonus, every participant was also given a special water bottle designed by Huw to commemorate the event. In the end, the event proved so popular that more than double the expected number of players turned up. It was a testament to the volunteers that the event ran so smoothly.

Stephen, a KEEN Inclusive Sports Champion, described the event as: “Awesome. I especially liked helping people out and playing with the robot!”

Meanwhile, James, a participant, simply said: “I had a really fun time being a champion.”