England star Sam Walker spread some inspiration to the next generation of players during a visit to a Darlington Dolphins TTC training session.
The World and Commonwealth medallist was ‘won’ by the club as part of our Return to The Table campaign last year.
He played against all the players at last Friday’s session at the Dolphin Centre in the town, challenging them to beat him in ‘best-of-five’ matches, as well as passing on tips and practice drills to some of the club’s talented youngsters.
Sam said: “What’s nice is there’s so many kids here who want to play and are having fun playing, and that’s always going to produce some players.” He went on to advise them to “just keep working at it and, most importantly, just keep enjoying it”.
Dolphins head coach Dave Noutch said: “The enthusiasm tonight is higher than what it would be if they were coming for a normal session.
“Normally, after half an hour or 45 minutes you have to give them time out, but none of them have asked for that tonight and they’re all wanting to play him again and joining the back of the queue again.
“It’s really good that Table Tennis England have given us this opportunity to have someone of Sam’s ability come and spend time with us.”
Anand Raviprakash, one of the club’s young British League players, spent some time being taken through drills by Sam and said: “It was good, a really good experience to be playing with such a good player. It was a lot harder playing such a high level, I had to be on my game. Really good training, as well.”
Check out the two films below to see Sam and the Dolphins in action: