End of an Era at Chelsea Academy
Another Coaching Award for West London PingJon Kaufmann – 20th November 2017
On the tenth anniversary of West London Ping in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the coaching team were once again awarded London Youth Games Manager of the Year. At the annual Awards ceremony, hosted by the Epic Sports team, where the Mayor of the borough gives a nod of appreciation for the work of the borough’s coaches and sports teachers, table tennis was once again recognised for its contribution to the sporting life of the borough. Starting way back in the original Kensington Leisure Centre some ten years ago with a regular Saturday afternoon session, table tennis has flourished and expanded across the borough’s school network.
Included in that network has been the original Holland Park School, the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Thomas More Language College, Sion Manning Girls School and the recently constructed Chelsea Academy. Add to that impressive list has been a host of primary schools including Avondale, Colville and the highly successful Fox- Ashburnham Federation. This partnership has netted a host of national school medals, including the gold medal for the Fox girl’s team, and the gold medal for Ashburnham’s Harry Derecki in the Jack Petchey London Under 11 Individual Championships. Further gold was attained when Harry went on to represent England in the Home Countries School Championships.
Resulting from this past decade of schools coaching has come a remarkable squad of serious table tennis players who regularly ply their trade in the National Junior League and other regional and national tournaments. Twice, the RBKC squad have won the highly competitive NJL Division One, and there have been countless victories for the borough in the other divisions. But the real victory has been the sheer size of the squad, which at the last count had reached sixty plus. This is by far the largest NJL contingent in the country and thanks to the financial support from Epic Sports, is set to grow to even greater numbers. In the last round of the NJL in October, the RBKC teams won an unbelievable 5 of the 8 divisions.
There has also been steady progress for the borough in the London Youth Games with the girls team taking the bronze medals in 2016 and the boys team reaching their best ever position this year to reach fifth place out of the thirty-two London boroughs.
One of the most significant achievements of the period has been the development of a young coaching team in the borough. Five regular students from the Friday evening Chelsea community sessions have become fully qualified Table Tennis England Level One coaches and their contribution to the growth of table tennis in the borough has been significant. And more students look set to continue that path.
Although this week’s award was made to the RBKC Table Tennis Manager, it is to the whole coaching and support team, past and present, that the award really belongs. So it’s hats off to Bhavin, Marcia, Egle, Mehdi, Charleigh, Eamon, Maggie, Hewley, Parsa, Jacques, Brandon, Ghassan, Kingsley and Natacha for their outstanding contributions, and a special acknowledgement to the Epic team and the school head teachers and their staff who have consistently helped to facilitate the growth of table tennis across the borough. Here’s to another ten years of Ping in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.