Whitehorse Daily Star

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READY TO GO – Table tennis coach Kevin Murphy said players are itching to get back to the sport. Pictured is Raghvi Sharma at the Edmonton Open in Sept. 2019.

Table tennis players waiting with ‘bated breath’

Like the archers (see story above), the territory’s table tennis players are waiting on school gyms to open to user groups so training and game-play can continue.

By John Tonin on October 14, 2020

Like the archers (see story above), the territory’s table tennis players are waiting on school gyms to open to user groups so training and game-play can continue.

Table tennis coach Kevin Murphy said the players, and himself, have been patiently waiting with “bated breath” to hear news from the Department of Education as it pertains to getting their training space back.

Murphy said some of the players have been able to play at the Canada Games Centre, but there is only one table for use.

“A small core is playing,” said Murphy. “But with one table you can’t run a club.”

At the table tennis club’s usual gym, École Whitehorse Elementary, six brand new Butterfly tables, meant to be used during the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, await their use.

“They aren’t assembled yet but they are waiting there to be assembled like it is Christmas,” said Murphy. “We are all itching to give it a try.”

Table tennis has not had any official play or training since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered everything in March. If school gyms are opened to user groups in November, Murphy said it will only be about a month or so before they are off again for the holiday break.

“This has been a long idle period for a lot of players,” said Murphy. “The players are feeling the gap and I hope they want to keep playing the sport after being absent from it for so long.”

When the club can resume, Murphy said they are going to focus on big-picture things.

“We are coming into a year with no Arctic Winter Games or Canada Summer Games,” said Murphy. “There are also no national or regional tournaments.

“We have a chance to focus on our region, regroup, rebuild, and bring the sport closer to even more Yukoners. When we get underway I’m eager to see all the faces.”

It would have been a Canada Summer Games year in 2021, but the Games, set to be held in the Niagara Region of Ontario were announced postponed on Sept. 16.

New coaches in training

While official practices may not be underway, that isn’t stopping two of the Yukon’s top table tennis players Raghvi Sharma and Ming Huang from pursuing coaches training. They will be joining Murphy in the weekend-long course.

“The coaching course is from Saturday to Sunday at the Canada Games Centre,” said Murphy. “We will be meeting virtually with some of the top players on the Canadian scene and a former national coach for Canada.”

It is exciting for Murphy to have two players taking the training and said it checks two boxes.

“One, it is more people in the coaching wheel,” said Murphy. “It will help continue to grow the sport in the Yukon. Two, it is great to have female involvement.”

Murphy said their table tennis counterparts in the Northwest Territories will also be joining in the class.

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