Ashingdon Table Tennis Academy was born during the early part of lockdown 2020, and has developed into a club that has a great reputation for engaging female participants.

The main reason for its creation was to give Level 2 qualified coach, Sidney Dorn, a base to continue training his Earls Hall Primary children during covid restrictions.

Sidney wanted to continue giving the children the best possible chance to practise in readiness for when covid restrictions finally lifted.

At first only one-to-one training sessions were possible, and quite a few of his highly rated players took the chance to keep improving. It was clear to Sidney though that he had more girls wanting his coaching and he put this down to his previous work with them during their time at the school together.

The newly founded club soon realised that the girls participating enjoyed his session because they were mainly made up of friends, and the fact that there was only a couple of boys in the club.

When we talked to the girls and their parents we found out that most of the girls found many of the male dominated clubs around the area were not their cup of tea and this club with old friends and other girls was the reason they kept coming.

coach, Sidney dorn

During early stages of the club, Sidney was contacted by Wanda Litynska-Sydorenko, two-time table tennis champion of Poland in women’s singles who happened to lived locally.

Wanda had a great interest in seeing what the club was doing and this lead to her becoming a coach alongside Sidney – being female and a previous European champion was a perfect fit for the small club.

Ashingdon Table Tennis Academy currently runs two sessions a week and has a junior team in the local league. They have eight players in the club; two boys and six girls and out of those players two girls, Evie Knaapen (U13) and Lyla Page (U11), have gone on to represent Essex in the national finals of the school individuals, with three others being members of the winning Essex school teams 2022.

If you’d like to find out more information about how to engage women and girls you can get in contact with [email protected].

You can also download our new Top Tips for starting a women and girls session resource here!