Draycott & Long Eaton Table Tennis Club proudly celebrated International Women’s Day with an inclusive session for any women and girls who played at the club, with participants ranging from 6 to 76 years old on Tuesday.

The fun-filled session allowed grandmothers, mothers and daughters to come together and enjoy table tennis.

The session also encouraged National Cadet League, Junior British league and Women’s British League teams to connect and play.

The day session for over 50s female participants was followed by an evening with former and current England squad players in attendance such as Anna Green, Emma Vickers, Abbie Milwain and Amy Humphrey’s.

Emma vickers, Table Tennis England board member and former England player says:

“It’s really important that we continue to celebrate women and girls in table tennis, not only to inspire more females to get into the sport, but to also help encourage former players to come back into the game, and to do so in an environment that they feel comfortable.”

Emma has been at Draycott for 25 years and Tuesday night was the first time she had ever seen so many female players in one room.

“There was a sense of community I have not experienced before. I would encourage other clubs to hold similar events as they will no doubt inspire more female players to engage in the sport long-term.”

When asked what advice Emma had for women and girls who want to get involved in other off the table opportunities she said:

“Coming to a table tennis session is a great way to socialise and meet new people. There are so many things to get involved in when you join a table tennis club, aside from playing, there are also many fantastic opportunities for females to get involved in coaching, officiating, and committee roles.”

Current England pathway player and Women and Girls Ambassador, Erin Green tells us why evenings like this to celebrate women and girls in the game are important:

“I think it is very important because it brings women of all ages together to celebrate the sport. It also helps younger girls to see older role models in the older women that play table tennis.

“I enjoyed the evening because it was a chance to have fun and chat to lots of different people and enabled us to have fun playing the sport together.

“I would definitely encourage other clubs to do similar evenings because it creates awareness for the number of women in sport and brings the females from the clubs closer together. It also helps to create a vibe at the club and would encourage more female participation into the club.”

Other attendees of the session noted the importance of creating a community of women and girls at the club and providing an informal session to do so, stating that some of the over 50s players don’t necessarily see the juniors, and the youngest girls don’t realise how big the club is.

Current club player, Abbie Milwain says:

“I think it’s great to celebrate women and girls in table tennis as getting all of us together shows how many of us there is, and hopefully encourages other women and girls to come and play. I think in table tennis trying to increase the number of women and girls playing is really important, I feel at draycott we do this well and make sure everyone feels welcome, and the evening celebrating International Women’s day is part of this.”

Click here to download our Top Tips for starting a women and girls session at your club, league or community organisation!