What is 'Ping'?
Ping! is a three-year table tennis project that wants people to do sport and have fun together. It has been running since 2010 and the next year, 2012, will be the final year. The idea is to put free table tennis tables in eight different towns in the UK for four weeks during the summer. Each table comes with its own bats and balls and is free to play. You can find the tables in bus stations, parks, squares, on housing estates and in shopping centres.
Where does the name 'Ping!' come from?
Another name for table tennis is ‘ping pong’ because of the sounds it makes when you play it.
Why should people take part?
The people behind the Ping! project hope to encourage people to have a quick game and each table has a sign next to it that says ‘Stop and play’. There are also other events linked with the project like office worker tournaments, training sessions on how to play and even a special game called ‘find your match’ where people can play and try to find a date!
One of the towns that took part in the project was Hull, a city in the north of England. Forty five tables were put into the city. Jakob Adamski, who lives in Hull, is an ESOL student learning English. “I really enjoyed playing table tennis in the park,” he said, “I also played lots of games with English boys and it was a good way for me to practise my English and meet people.”
What does 'Ping' hope to achieve?
With money from Sport England and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Ping! is part of a wider idea about ‘legacy’. This means the long-term benefits that the Olympics and Paralympic Games will have on the people of the UK after they have finished. It would be great if Ping! helped find a new Olympic table tennis star but the aim of the project is really just to get people playing and having fun together. “Putting a ping pong table on the street gives people a chance to connect with other people and the city around them,” said Meera Sodha, Ping! Project Manager. “Suddenly everyone is talking, playing, smiling and having fun – it generates an enormous sense of well-being”.