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Table Tennis: Harlow’s Pauline brings home bronze in Parkinson’s World Champs

Sport / Fri 21st Oct 2022 am31 08:02am

HARLOW’S Pauline Jones has become the first person from the town to compete at the Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championship in Croatia – and has come back with a bronze medal.

The 3rd PingPongParkinson world championship took place on 12th – 16th October in the beautiful and historic town of Pula.  A record 165 participants, from 19 countries, took part, including 8 from England and 3 from Scotland.  The opening ceremony was held at the town’s spectacular Roman amphitheatre.  

Five tournaments were played, including men’s singles and doubles,  women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles.  Each competition had 3 separate classes which were based on ability.  Pauline Jones, who plays at BATTS table tennis club in Harlow, won a Bronze medal in the Women’s Class 3 (beginners)  singles tournament.    In total the UK competitors won 3 medals in the main competition and 9 medals in the consolation round.

The BATTS club at the Norman Booth Centre in Old Harlow is keen to welcome people with Parkinson’s to their ‘Bat and Chat’ sessions on Thursday afternoons 1pm – 4pm.  There is plenty of parking and the sports hall and facilities are accessible for people with reduced mobility.  

The sessions at BATTS are part of the PingPongParkinson movement, which was established by Nenad Bach, a Croatian peace activist and former rock star, who also has Parkinson’s Disease.  He found that playing table tennis had a positive effect on his physical and mental well-being.  It is known that exercise can actually help to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease and Nenad has worked tirelessly to introduce people to the sport across the world.  There are now a growing number of table tennis clubs in the United Kingdom that are encouraging people with Parkinson’s to take up the sport, whatever their ability.  

Pauline said: ‘It was great to be able to represent England, and also Harlow, at the World Championships – and a real bonus to come back with a medal!  Starting to play table tennis again has made a real difference to my wellbeing, and it would be wonderful to see more people with Parkinson’s discovering the benefits in Harlow – it’s also a really good way to make new friends.’

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