Table tennis players set to mix it with the best

Ian Johnston is a former Madras pupil and current Scottish international.
Ian Johnston is a former Madras pupil and current Scottish international.

St Andrews Table Tennis Players Dave Beveridge and Howard Lee will compete with some of the country’s top-ranked players at the annual Scottish Ping Pong Championships at Ward Road Gym in Dundee.

Ping pong, or sandpaper table tennis as it in known, is a fun variation on the game that returns to old fashioned equipment, using sandpaper instead of the modern sponge and rubber on bats.  

Local playersDave and Howard both qualified in St Andrews at one of a series of events held throughout Scotland with 36 players qualifying for this weekend’s tournament.

While intended to be in part a fun event, competing for the Ronnie Turnbull Quaich, there is a serious side to the tournament. 

This year the top two players will win coveted spots at the World Championships of Ping Pong (WCPP), which will be held at Alexandra Palace in London at the end of January 2019 and is covered live by Sky Sports.

Amongst the favourites for the two WCPP qualifying places are Scotland’s number one table tennis player, Gavin Rumgay, and Ian Johnston, a former pupil at Madras College and member of St Andrews TTC. 

Both Gavin and Ian represented Scotland at last year’s World Championships reaching the last 32.

While at Madras Ian was taken for coaching sessions by St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s chair Elaine Forbes and was a member of the club for several years.

Ian played table tennis in the league from 2004, became hooked on ping pong around 2015, and is hoping for a fourth attendance at the WCPP.

Gavin is in the Top 10 in the world at ping pong, having reached the WCPP quarter finals several times during his five appearances, and is a highly successful professional table tennis player and coach.

He also has own range of branded goods – including a brand-new rubber which will be launched on Saturday in Dundee giving a chance to buy last minute presents for the table tennis fans amongst us.

Gavin also previously played in the Dundee & District league.

A spokesman for the event said it was sure to be a terrific day’s sport.

He said: “Dave, Howard, Ian and Gavin will not have it all their own way – the other entrants include some of the top players from Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, Dumfries and Aberdeen table tennis leagues.

“Spectators are welcome to Ward Road Gym, Dundee on Saturday from 10am – there is a viewing gallery and a tuck shop with tea, coffee, juice and snacks. 

“The final rounds will be showen from 5pm, with broadcaster Jim Spence introducing the final at 6pm so, if you’re in the area, pop in and see us.”