Over the last 18 months, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have laid strong foundations to unleash the potential for Sport at the University. Plans have been set in motion to place UCLan as a hub for sport within the Northwest, particularly within 6 focal sports, one of which is Table Tennis. UCLan will play its part to develop and enhance the talent pathway with in the northwest, supporting the athletes in the region.
Dan O’Connell, former Welsh Number 1, has been recruited as the UCLan Performance Coach for the team, having previously worked on the international stage as the National Assistant Coach for the U.A.E. Dan will work to put into place a high level programme combining organised training sessions with video analysis and S&C sessions.
Dan said “It’s an exciting thing to be part of. To see the facilities and resources at UCLan’s disposal and their vision for table tennis in the near future is great. From personal experience I think a lot of people reach a crossroads at 18 where they feel they must decide between continuing to train regularly or remaining in education. To be able to do both is a win-win.”
Table Tennis Scholarships are available to talented athletes who represent UCLan in BUCS, whereby funding is available (up to £5000 depending on level of athlete) along with a support package of things like strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, nutrition etc. Scholars will be supported to enable them to continue to train at a high level whilst remaining in education and gaining a high-level qualification.
Links with local clubs, leagues and Lancashire County Association have been established to enhance the student experience and provide additional training opportunities for student athletes.
UCLan have already started to positively support table tennis across the region by hosting the inaugural UCLan Junior and Cadet training camp with 14 of the best players from the region invited to attend a three-day training camp.
Adrian Ibbetson, Director of Sport UCLan said “We want to be seen as a regional centre of excellence for table tennis and have made great strides in our ambition. The appointment of Dan into the Table Tennis Performance Coach role and the collaborations developed with local clubs, leagues and Table Tennis England, coupled with the scholarship opportunities has created a strong package for aspiring table tennis athletes.”