Merthyr Tydfil’s sporting heritage is rich and well-documented, but a new chapter is being written thanks to an innovative tie-up between the town’s college and Table Tennis Wales.
The famous sporting sons and daughters of the old industrial town – such as boxers Howards Winstone and Johnny Owen, judoka Natalie Powell, footballer Mark Pembridge and netballer Chelsea Lewis – could soon be joined by the next generation of table tennis internationals.
Alongside the creation of a high performance hub and a new table tennis academy based at Merthyr College, an inclusive community club has also been set up there for players of all ages and abilities.
Some of Wales’ best table tennis players began using Merthyr College’s dedicated coaching facility in the build-up to last summer’s Commonwealth Games.
But the community club – with its focus on providing more sporting opportunities in an area where they can be hard to come by – was launched on St. David’s Day. It has been the result of collaboration with other partners such as the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales, Disability Sport Wales, Street Games and Active Merthyr.
It will be running weekly on a Wednesday evening, and will benefit from the coaching input of Callum Evans, Wales’ number one ranked male player.