Table tennis player Harrogate inspires next generation after World Championship success

George Chan (right) and his doubles partner Nenad Bach (left) won gold in men’s doubles at the Parkinson World Table Tennis Championships in Berlin

The Parkinson’s National Table Tennis Championships were held in St Neots last month, where George entered the toughest category and in a series of grueling matches, beat the tournament favorite to win the gold medal .

If that wasn’t enough, that same day George got a call to represent England and compete in the Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships in Berlin, competing against 25 other nations.

The squad consisted of seven players from England, five from Scotland and one from Wales where they won two gold, two silver and four bronze.

George won gold in men’s doubles (class 2) alongside partner Nenad Bach and silver in mixed doubles (class 1).

He said: “Everything has been a bit surreal over the past two weeks with people coming to me and congratulating me on my accomplishments.

“I often think it’s still a dream until I see my medals and my Facebook and YouTube feeds, which are a gentle and joyful reminder that things have happened.

“Although being a champion is a great feeling, I was inspired and humbled by all the players there.

“Everyone showed great courage and determination to overcome their difficulties and became ‘alive’ at the table and for me we are all champions.”

Like many athletes across the country, George had to adapt his training during the Covid-19 pandemic to allow him to prepare for his competitions.

“During the pandemic it was not possible to train with a training partner, so I resorted to training with a table tennis robot that shoots balls at you imitating a real opponent.”

George has been the head table tennis coach at Harrogate Racquets Club since 2011 and has built the club’s junior section from scratch, offering several weekly training sessions.

It also hosts adult, school and community training sessions with many of its players playing at the county and national levels.

His enthusiasm inspired other club members to qualify as coaches, which allowed the club to add three more level one coaches, further strengthening the training offer and giving the Harrogate Racquet Club a ideal basis for further developing training programs.

George has suffered from Parkinson’s disease for several years, but despite this, nothing prevents him from playing the sport he loves and from sharing his passion with club members through the junior coaching program, the outreach schools and the team for which he plays in the Harrogate District League.

Vanessa Cameron, Head of Development at Harrogate Racquet Club, said: “We are very proud of what George has accomplished and we know it will inspire all of the young people he trains at our club to work hard, stay focused and to be the best player possible. to be. “

The Harrogate Racquets Club is a friendly members club with dedicated table tennis, badminton and tennis facilities.

The club welcomes members of all skill levels and ages and has something to offer everyone, from playing socially with other members, participating in club-organized activities, or developing skills. through access to accredited coaches who offer private or group coaching.

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