Date: 18/12/2008 Category: Leisure
Some of the country’s top table tennis players will be on show in Medway this new year. The sport’s Butterfly Grand Prix series returns to the Black Lion Leisure Centre in Gillingham for the two-day Medway Open tournament on Saturday, 3 and Sunday, 4 January. The tournament, which forms part of the English Table Tennis Association’s (ETTA) national grand prix series, will feature around 200 competitors from across the country, including some home grown talent. Medway-based players including Chris Martin, Ian Gordon and Mark Buckley and juniors including Kirsty and Ross Wilson, Harry Lumb and Phil Thomas will be lining up against international-standard players from England, Scotland and even Chinese Taipei. This is the second time the Butterfly Grand Prix event has been held at the Black Lion, which is currently undergoing its £11m transformation into a new centre of sporting excellence called Medway Park. Matthew Porter, National Events Officer for the ETTA said: “We are really looking forward to working with Medway Council again and continuing to do so after the completion of Medway Park. “This year’s competition should be a great event with international and local standard playing and fighting it out for different titles. We hope to see lots of local players and fans of the game there to enjoy the weekend’s table tennis.” The event runs all day on Saturday and Sunday and there is free spectator access throughout the weekend. The action on the Saturday will see all of the players competing in banded events based on national ratings. On the Sunday there are open men’s and women’s singles events, plus veteran’s, under-21s and restricted singles events. The finals of the blue ribbon events, the men’s and women’s singles, take place at 2.30pm and 3pm respectively on the Sunday afternoon. Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Sport is at the heart of Medway’s ambitions to become a city of learning, culture, tourism and enterprise and we are thrilled to welcome back the cream of British table tennis to Medway, ensuring 2009 gets off to a flying sporting start.” For more information about the Butterfly Grand Prix series, visit www.englishtabletennis.org.uk Note to editors: A full list of the top seeds and the players from across Kent taking part in the grand prix is available upon request. Photographers and television crews are invited to film the tournament throughout the weekend, and in particular the trophy presentations on Sunday, 4 January at the conclusion of the women’s singles final, at approximately 3.30pm.