KUALA LUMPUR (29 MARCH 2017): Twenty-five young table tennis players from local schools with the potential to be future stars experienced the opportunity of a lifetime when they met, mingled and sparred with some of the world’s best players at a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event held at The Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur today.
Star names from the world of table tennis including Paul Drinkhall (World No 39), Cheng I-Ching (No 5), Matilda Ekholm (No 20) and Georgina Pota (No 31) were on hand to give the event star power when they took part in sparring sessions which were prearranged by the organisers. There were also opportunities to take photos with the big names and an autograph session for the kids.
The 25 children, all aged 12, also had a chance to showcase their talent to the four players while also gaining invaluable insight into the technical aspects of the game. Besides gathering important technical skills, the children also had a glimpse into the lives of top table tennis stars through a question and answer session.
The day’s event was organised by the world’s richest table tennis league – T2 Asia Pacific Table Tennis (T2APAC) League. The T2APAC League is scheduled to commence its inaugural season this June and will feature world class names like Timo Boll, Jun Mizutani, Vladimir Samsonov, Feng Tianwei, Drinkhall, Ekholm, Cheng, Pota among others.
The league was making a stopover in Malaysia as part of its pre-tournament promotions and preparations. Besides arriving in to Kuala Lumpur for the CSR event, the players were flown in to engage in a promotional shoot aimed at capturing the essence of the sport and profiling the athletes who have signed up for the inaugural T2APAC League.
The event was organised with the assistance of the Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) whose secretary general, Chan Foong Keong was also present.
Speaking on behalf of TTAM, Chan pledged his full support for the organisers to hold similar events or clinics in the future in Malaysia.
“It is not every day that we get high profile players visiting this part of the world to participate in a community event like this. Thus, when T2APAC first approached us for support in terms of the promotional shoot, I suggested to engage the community via a CSR programme so that we can increase the profile of table tennis in Malaysia. We do hope that T2APAC will return in the near future to do similar programmes so as to help spread the awareness of table tennis while also inspiring and motivating our younger table tennis enthusiasts locally,” said Chan.
T2APAC’s Chief Executive and commissioner, Jeff Chue, promised that the Malaysia stopover will definitely not be their last.
“It is nice to see these young players here today participating in activities alongside some of world’s best table tennis players. This proves that the sport is gaining momentum in Malaysia and we will continue with our efforts to organise such events for the betterment of the sport,” said Chue.
The players were just as ecstatic as the local youngsters with both parties engaging in two-hour session of exciting table tennis and motivational messages
“I am very excited to be here in Malaysia to not only promote the sport I truly love but also to partake in this meaningful event. It is vital that we do our part as professional athletes to educate and share our experiences and skills with the young players as it will eventually benefit the sport and the local sporting scene,” said Cheng I-Ching the current women’s world number five from Chinese Taipei.
Drinkhall, 27, added: “It fills my heart with joy just by seeing how the younger generation appreciates table tennis, just as much as us pros.”
About T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League:
Headquartered in Singapore and with offices in Shanghai and Chicago, the first-ever pan-regional professional table-tennis league has been assembled to engage a much broader audience and consumer base. The first of its kind, T2APAC features a ground-breaking format including separate but concurrent Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed-Team Championships, a player draft system (for the Mixed-Team Championship), 24-minute time limit per match, and a unique scoring system. All 228 matches of the inaugural season will be held entirely in the T2Cavern, a specially-designed and purpose-built arena, and before a live studio audience.