Table tennis champ clocks up 80 years

A PING pong playing pensioner today claims he is Ipswich's oldest star with almost 80 years of experience behind his bat.Bill Daniels was introduced to table tennis in the late 1920s as a teenager when he played his first game in Bury St Edmunds.

A PING pong playing pensioner today claims he is Ipswich's oldest star with almost 80 years of experience behind his bat.

Bill Daniels was introduced to table tennis in the late 1920s as a teenager when he played his first game in Bury St Edmunds.

His uncle worked at the YMCA in the town and on a visit to see him Mr Daniels decided to turn his hand to table tennis.

Since then he has been swinging his bat almost continuously and says it is the secret to keeping him young at heart.

Mr Daniels, who lives at Bethesda Eventide Homes, in Henley Road, said: “I lost my wife some years ago and since moving into the home they expect me to sit around all day.

“But it isn't for me and I want to keep as active as possible. Playing table tennis three times a week certainly gives me something to look forward to and I enjoy playing as much today as I ever have.”

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Mr Daniels plays for the Britannia Table Tennis Club which meets three mornings a week at Ipswich Sports Club, in Henley Road.

The club is mainly made up of veterans and its youngest member is 65-years-old.

Mr Daniels said: “I moved to Ipswich as a youngster to work in engineering and when I first came I just moved clubs from the YMCA in Bury to the one in Ipswich.

“As I got older I thought I would have to give up the sport because I am not the player I use to be.

“But then I found out about the Britannia Table Tennis Club and decided to give it a try.

“I have been there ten years now and although I am not a very good player I really enjoy the social side of things. I have made a lot of good friends there.”

Mr Daniels said he sees his age as no barrier to his skills and hopes to carry on playing for several years to come.

Do you think you are the eldest player in a particular sport? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

nTable tennis was banned in the Soviet Union from 1930-1950. The sport was believed to be harmful to the eyes.

nTable tennis became a medal olympic sport in the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul.

nTable tennis as the most popular racquet sport in the world and ranked second in terms of participation. Ten million players compete in sanctioned tournaments each year.

nThe current record for the most balls hit back and fourth in 60 seconds is 173. It was set by Jackie Bellinger and Lisa Lomas in 1993.