Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for October 3, 2012

Table Tennis Yukon seeking new recruits

One of the territory’s oldest sporting clubs is looking to add to its numbers.

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Photo by Marcel Vander Wier

FOCUSED – Nine-year-old Hassan Rajab returns a serve from his brother Abed Rajab, 11, Sunday at a meeting of Table Tennis Yukon at Whitehorse Elementary School (top). PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – Kyle Gonder works on his table tennis game.

One of the territory’s oldest sporting clubs is looking to add to its numbers.

Formed in 1970, Table Tennis Yukon opened its season Sunday, Sept. 23 with recreational play in the Whitehorse Elementary School gymnasium.

Numbers thus far have been low, and club president Dave Stockdale is encouraging members of the community to give it a try.

There are many benefits to playing table tennis in Whitehorse, he told the Star.

“It’s a fun indoor game that you can participate in throughout the winter,” Stockdale said. “It’s fairly cheap, and the place is available for drop-in.”

Table tennis, referred to informally as ping-pong, is a sport played with table tennis rackets, a hollow ball, and two to four players on a hard table.

Games can be fast-paced, and players need a high level of hand-eye coordination amongst other skills.

“Footwork is key,” said Stockdale. “Getting into a position to make your shot is most important for me.”

Stockdale said it is always incredible to watch how quickly a new player’s skillset improves with practice.

“It’s a lifetime sport,” he added. “It’s something you can play for a lifetime.”

The Yukon club has benefited from the 2012 Arctic Winter Games that took place in Whitehorse.

The club was able to retain the equipment used at the Games, which Stockdale describes as first rate.

Table Tennis Yukon even has a robot that moves from side to side and serves balls with different spin patterns.

“That’s always a fun thing to play.”

The club is already looking ahead to the next Games, scheduled for Fairbanks, Alaska in 2014.

“We are looking for players to coach for the next Arctic Winter Games,” he said.

“Boys and girls, under 14, under 17, if you’re interested in going to the Arctic Winter Games, this is a great sport to get into, because the competition’s not too great.

“If anybody’s interested in doing that, then over the next two years we can prepare them for a wonderful experience. We don’t want to do it six months before. We’d like a two-year program.”

The local season has begun with a series of recreational play days.

This past Sunday, seven players spent the afternoon working on their skillset.

“People are coming and going all the time,” said Stockdale of the fluctuating numbers.

There is a $5 drop-in rate available for those simply looking to give the game a try.

“Bring a friend,” said Stockdale. “That’s always important. If a couple people come, then you’ve got somebody to play with.”

Adult memberships are $30 for the season, which runs until April. Junior rates (under-18) are $20. Family rates are also available.

Club season highlights will include the Halloween Howler Oct. 28, Corporate Challenge Fundraiser Nov. 25, and Christmas team event Dec. 16.

Major tournaments include the Yukon-Alaska Challenge and Western Canada Open in May, the Yukon championships in April and the national championships in July.

Club members can receive coaching from both Stockdale and Kevin Murphy.

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