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Venue: Tonypandy Community College

Start Date:  Thursday 19th May

Time: 6pm – 9pm

Cost: £4 per person (special deals for families with more than one child attending)

This is an exciting opportunity for anybody in the Rhondda who would like to play Table Tennis, keep fit and learn a new skill.  The session caters for adults and children at advanced and beginner levels.  This opportunity would not be possible without the support of the College and the Community Team who  have been instrumental in making this happen.

The sessions will be designed and organised by two-time Commonwealth Bronze medallist Stephen Jenkins.  Stephen is a member of the most successful Welsh Table Tennis team who are the only team to have won a medal at the Commonwealth Championships and also finished a record 28th in the world Team championships in Osaka, Japan 2001 (team members: Adam Robertson, Ryan Jenkins, Stephen Jenkins).

“As a youngster I just wanted to be the best I could be and compete for Wales in major championships.  Within six months of playing I was selected for the British Primary Schools (Dumphries) and although I lost most of my matches I enjoyed the experience and had loads of fun with my team mates.  In one match against Ireland I was thrashed 21-0, 21-5, and wondered how my opponent could be that good.  The following year in the same tournament I beat the Irish player in the final.”

Stephen has competed in three Commonwealth Games: Manchester 2002, Sydney 2006, and Delhi 2010.

“Competing at the Commonwealth Games is like nothing else I have experienced.  Although you have to be professional and focused on performing to your best ability it’s difficult not be overawed by the superstars that are surrounding you.  I don’t usually get star-struck, but when David Beckham carried the torch in the Manchester 2002 opening ceremony it just seemed like I was watching TV.”

Stephen grew up in the Rhondda and started playing in Ystrad Boys Club when he was eight years old.  When Stephen started playing there were more community based projects; the main community night based in Ystrad sports centre, which would attract between 20-30 players.

“I remember being the worst player in the hall but loved the challenge to get better and beat the older, more advanced players.  I learned so much from the older, more experienced players and had to work hard to beat them and I believe that’s why I got so good – I always had to work for it.”

The reason behind starting this new community club is due to the demand in the area.  There are school clubs which cater for children, but there is a huge dropout when participants reach the age of sixteen, as school leavers have nowhere to practice.

“The unique thing about this community club is that all ages and abilities are welcome, and people are encouraged to just give it a go and try something new. I used to hang around the streets in the evening and have nothing to do, until I got involved and became hooked on Table Tennis.  Hopefully the new community club will find new sports stars and make young people realise their potential through high quality sport provision, delivered by inspirational coaches.”

If you would like any further information please contact Stephen Jenkins on stephenjenkins19@hotmail.com or alternatively call 07875718131

Stephen Jenkins Sports Agency www.stephenjenkinssportsagency.co.uk