Belfast Telegraph

Dame Mary Peters bats for ping pong world record bid

By Mark Edwards

Dame Mary Peters is helping put Belfast on the sporting map again by supporting an attempt to set a new ping pong world record.

Ormeau Table Tennis Club will tomorrow kick off the effort, which will see head coach Keith Knox remaining static at one side of the table while a queue of people on the other side each take a shot.

They are aiming to beat the current world record that stands at 108 shots, and are aiming for at least 109 - while raising funds for charity at the same time.

And there's no better man to anchor the effort than Keith, who is a member of the Irish senior table tennis team and the Northern Ireland table tennis team.

He has competed in international events, including world championships, European championships and Commonwealths.

"Mary Peters Trust have been exceptionally good to us, they have sponsored most of us athletes, including myself, over the last few years so this is a chance to give something back," he said.

"So we wanted to do something together with Mary Peters Trust.

"We hope to raise a couple of thousand and to do so we need to get more than 108 people to hit the ball against me.

"Each person will hit the ball once and I keep hitting the ball back and try and get through as many people as we can. It will be difficult, but I am confident we can do it."

All participants are making a donation to the Mary Peters Trust to help its Race to a Million campaign.

Keith's brother Gervis, joint owner of Ormeau Table Tennis, said they were delighted to be able to give something back to the trust.

"Our club is really keen to raise some money for the Mary Peters Trust which has supported so many of our players," he said.

"Owen Cathcart, who has just won the Slovenian Open, is a Mary Peters Trust ambassador and the funding he has received has helped hugely with his progress."

Dame Mary said: "I am delighted to support Ormeau Table Tennis in this fantastic event. The Mary Peters Trust supports young talented athletes across 50 sports with much needed funding. It is vital that we do this and continue the sporting successes Northern Ireland has produced."

The world record attempt will start at 6pm. There will then be the first Celeb/Pro tournament held by the club, with Dame Mary herself taking part, plus other well-known names including Pete Snodden and Michael McKillop.

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