sportscotland today announced an investment of £144,255 for the sport of table tennis in Scotland.
Scotland is proving a force to be reckoned with on the table tennis scene boasting not only the boys Primary Schools International champions, but also the British Premier League champions.
This morning Sports Minister Shona Robison visited a club that is leading the way in the sport's development, in Drumchapel in Glasgow.
This season Drumchapel Table Tennis Club, which celebrates its 20th anniversary today, became the first Scottish club to take this prestigious title.
sportscotland's investment is designed to build on these foundations, supporting the sport at all levels, encouraging increased participation and ensuring that the athletes have the support they need to deliver when the Commonwealth Games come to Glasgow in 2014.
In particular, this year's funding has allowed Table Tennis Scotland to recruit its first national coach and Li Chao from China took up the post earlier this year. Li's task is to ensure that the Scottish team is in the top eight in the Commonwealth before 2014.
To support Li in his aims, sportscotland has also funded the appointment of two part-time overseas practice partners, to give Scotland's top players the best possible competition preparation as they aim for selection for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi next October.
Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland said;
"The recent Commonwealth Games Table Tennis Championships gave us all a taste of what's to come in 2014. For our athletes it was a fantastic opportunity to experience the excitement of playing in a major championship in front of a home crowd and make the most of the advantage that brings.
"I'm sure that the championships will have inspired many more young people to become involved in table tennis. That's why it is so important that we invest in the sport now, to harness that enthusiasm and provide the support required to deliver our stars of the future."
Sports Minister Shona Robison added:
"Drumchapel is a great example of a club which really works with the local community to inspire and encourage people to lead better, healthier lives.
"This funding for table tennis in Scotland will ensure more people get involved in the sport and help prepare our existing athletes as we gear up for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014."
Table Tennis in Glasgow, particularly in Drumchapel, has been hitting the headlines recently for its outstanding development work, engaging with local children and developing their interest and potential in the sport. Keen to support this innovative approach, sportscotland is also investing in Table Tennis Scotland to allow them to replicate this model through local and regional partnerships, increasing participation and developing the potential of aspiring athletes across the country.
Jonathan Whitaker, Chairman of Table Tennis Scotland welcomed today's announcement saying: "This is a major new investment in our sport from sportscotland. It not only supports the role of the national coach and our Chinese practice partners, it enables us to appoint a full time national development manager to help us grow the participation in table tennis at all levels. It is also through development that we find the stars of the future and we have the capability now of taking them all the way."
Next weekend (26-28 June) Table Tennis Scotland will host the Senior Schools International at the sportscotland National Centre Inverclyde where the Scottish team will take on teams representing schools from across Britain and Ireland.
In 2007/08 sportscotland invested over £11.5 million in 59 sports governing bodies.
The £144,255 investment in Table Tennis Scotland is made up of £113,000 of sportscotland funding from the Scottish Government and £31,255 from the sportscotland Lottery Fund.
The four players in the Scottish team who won the under 12s Primary Schools International are: Ying Jin of Boroughmuir High School (also Bronze in Individual event), Blair Fowler of Braes High School (also Silver in Individual event), Garry Wright of Lockerbie Academy, Christopher Wheeler of Wallacestone Primary (also Gold in Individual event).
The Senior Schools International includes teams from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man. Each team is comprised of school aged children selected to represent their country.
The Commonwealth Games in Delhi take place in October 2010.
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow begin in July 2014.