Ping pong fans can let loose their skills on Newcastle’s streets this summer, thanks to seven newly-installed outdoor table tennis tables across the city centre.
The tables have popped up at Northumberland Street, Princess Square (next to Newcastle Central library), Trinity Gardens and the Quayside, next to the Pitcher and Piano restaurant.
And to kick off the fun, players from the Northumbria Table Tennis League picked up their bats to offer demonstrations to passers-by on how the game should be played.
Bats and balls will not be provided with the tables, but people can come prepared with their own, or pop into nearby sports shops which have stocked up with plenty of cheap sets to cater for demand.
Alan Hedley, chairman of Cramlington Table Tennis Club said: “It’s great news that Newcastle will now have free table tennis tables for everyone to enjoy in the city centre.
“Our members come from far and wide to play what is now a major growth sport – it is wonderful to be able to launch NE1’s new tables and to allow the people of Newcastle and the wider North East to get into the game and start playing.”
The ping pong tables are an extension of NE1’s summertime events programme which has seen the return of the much-loved NE1 Quayside Seaside, pop up beach on the Quayside equipped with volleyball court, deck chairs and buckets and spades, and the open air film screenings at NE1 Monument Movies which will recommence on Tuesday, July 22.
Stephen Patterson, director of communications at NE1 Ltd said: “NE1 Ltd looks far and wide for inspiration and ideas for things to bring to Newcastle City Centre to add to the fun.
“We want to give people more reasons to visit Newcastle and be able to enjoy a great day out with lots of free activities in the heart of the city.
“The idea for the tables came from recent visits to London and Spain where outdoor table tennis tables provide fun, free activities for people to enjoy – we’re sure the tables will be well received here in Newcastle and look forward to seeing the ping pong craze sweep through the city.”
Table tennis is the most popular racquet sport in the world and ranked second overall in terms of participation. Over 10 million players compete in tournaments each year.