Table Tennis England The Winning Edge Issue 6 - Page 16

‘ I want to get more players in . More
players with Down ’ s syndrome especially . Playing table tennis is my best thing . I feel good when I play . I play well . I want to win for my dad .
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WINNING EDGE

Fairchild ’ s top three tips for coaches
• Respect each other .
• Move a lot , move your feet a lot .
• Be kind and have fun .
The inspirational Fairchild isn ’ t the only success story coming out of BTTC , which was named Table Tennis England ’ s National Club of the Year in 2014 . Last May it was named the first Club of Sanctuary in the UK for its recent work supporting unaccompanied refugee children .
Since it was founded nine years ago by keen ex-international players Tim Holtam and Harry McCarney , it has grown from a club with a couple of broken old tables at Brighton Youth Centre to become one of the country ’ s biggest table tennis clubs .
It now oversees over 100 tables across the south-coast city , with more than a thousand people playing the sport via the club each year , including students from over 10 local schools .
The club ran a Level 1 coaching course last spring , featuring perhaps the most diverse line up of coaches from all walks of life that has ever been put together .
Among the candidates joining Fairchild were an ex-professional Portuguese coach , formerly of Benfica , the Chairman of the Brighton league , a young woman who lives in a care home for people with Asperger ’ s , an Afghani refugee in foster care , and one of the top 20 female players in England .
‘ We are realising that table tennis really is for everyone ,’ Holtam adds .
‘ The benefits to older people , the benefits to community building and the huge range of interesting people from all walks of life that have got involved in Brighton Table Tennis Club have been inspiring .’
Last July , BTTC launched a monthly session for people with Down ’ s syndrome . Poster boy Fairchild , whose beaming smile and enthusiasm for the sport epitomises all the club has achieved and is working towards , is a key part of the coaching team .
Fairchild hopes that he will be the first of many people with Down ’ s syndrome to become a coach .
‘ I have Down ’ s syndrome . I want people like me to play table tennis ,’ he says .
Fairchild clearly loves his sport and his club , and even answers his home phone in Woodingdean with : ‘ Hello Brighton Table Tennis Club , how can I help you ?’
And although there will be plenty of support for him along the way , he is happy to lead the way in the new sessions .
Fairchild has been given a formidable nickname by his peers at BTTC .
‘ The other coaches at the club call me “ Boss ” because I am a “ Big Boss ” now .’

‘ I want to get more players in . More

players with Down ’ s syndrome especially . Playing table tennis is my best thing . I feel good when I play . I play well . I want to win for my dad .

© Brighton Table Tennis Club
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