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Ping! puts ping-pong on the table

Richard Jinman

Ping! is a nationwide ping-pong event that aims to get everyone to the table

29 June to mid August

Cities across the UK

WHETHER you know it as wiff-waff, ping-pong or table tennis, the noble art of smashing a small plastic ball across a green table using a little round bat is one to be savoured. And this month, a lot more people in the UK will get the chance to have a go.

Sing! – the arts organization that deposited pianos in London streets in 2009 and invited passers-by to play them – has turned its attention to table tennis. In the run-up to the London Olympics, it has launched Ping! a campaign designed to get more people playing table tennis and having a bit of fun. More than 700 tables have been installed in cities ranging from Brigton and Birmingham to Liverpool and Leicester. Check the Ping! website to find the table nearest you! We found tables in Bristol Zoo and in The New Forest in Hampshire, to mention just two weird spots. Bats and balls are supplied and it’s all completely free.

Each table has a sign marked ‘table manners’ asking you to retrieve balls and return bats. When GB Mag visited the table in Finsbury Square in London to make our video we discovered the bats and all the balls in place and ready to go. Nice.

As well as the tables, Ping! offers a program of events and activities called Random Acts of Ping Pong. They range from table tennis masterclasses to Meet Your Match events for single people in search of love! Once again, the Ping! website is the place to go for details.

Three events that caught GB Mag’s eye were The Science of Spin at London’s Science Museum on 25 July at 7pm and Ping! @ the Movies. The latter is a screening of Ping Pong: A Sports Movie About Old Age, which follows elderly players to Mongolia for the 80+ section of the table tennis championships. The screening will be followed by free games of ... you guessed it, table tennis. Ping! also includes a Beats and Bats event in which spoken word artists “chat to the beat of the bat” at The Roundhouse in London’s Chalk Farm. For more details go to the Ping! website.

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