During the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Table Tennis England’s ‘Have A Go’ zone, proved to be a resounding success with spectators, from seasoned players to people only just discovering the sport.

A staggering 8,200 visitors over 10 days enjoyed trying their hand at table tennis on the four tables, three set aside for challenges while the fourth table had free play – and some special guests including Table Tennis Hall of Fame Legend Desmond Douglas MBE.

Winners of the speed gun challenge were:

Fastest Male – Oscar James 119 km/h
Fastest Female – Holly Clark 97 km/h 
Fastest Junior – Will Pittson 93 km/h

The interactive trail, telling visitors all about table tennis in England, included a competition. Three lucky winners were drawn, all of whom correctly identified Maria Tsapstinos as being the female winner of the 2022 Mark Bates Senior National Cup.

The winners received a bat set plus some Commonwealth merchandise. They kindly shared their experiences of the Games:

Winner 1 – Megan Bollen
Megan Bollen

I got the Commonwealth tickets as a graduation present and my boyfriend and I attended 2 sessions in one day. We were at the NEC for 12 hours of table tennis and enjoyed every single second ! The have a go section was a nice break from the action and we especially enjoyed the speed gun challenge. Watching different styles of play was so inspiring and as a pimple player myself, I really enjoyed watching how other players use this type of rubber in a match. Overall it was an amazing experience and I’ll definitely try to go to others like it in the future. (Special shout out to the volunteers, they were fantastic)

Megan Bollen
Winner 2 – Ruth Howman
Sophie and Ruth Howman

My daughter (Sophie, aged 10) and I had an amazing time at the Commonwealth Games table tennis. The atmosphere was great and it was wonderful watching Jack Hunter-Spivey win his gold medal! Sophie particularly enjoyed the ‘Have a Go Zone’ and we went back again and again. The people running the zone were really friendly and encouraging. All in all we had a fantastic day and it was fabulous being able to watch such amazing sport in our own city!

ruth howman
Winner 3 – Liz Dainty
The Dainty family with Liam Pitchford

It was a fabulous experience and resulted in my 3 sons putting their money together and buying a table tennis table for the garden.

Liz Dainty

The delivery of the zone was a huge team effort, being staffed by Table Tennis England and volunteers from across the West Midlands.

Kevin Taylor, who lead the team of staff and volunteers said: “Well what can I say.  Birmingham Commonwealth Games  Table Tennis HAGZ experience was truly amazing. I should add that the enormous success of this activity was 100% down to the passion , enthusiasm and energy of our amazing staff and volunteers!! It was a pleasure and an inspiration to work with them all, and see the joy on the faces of everyone picking up a bat for the first time ! A great job all round!”