Para events will be included as standard at the Mark Bates Ltd Cadet, U17 & Junior National Championships from this season as Table Tennis England steps up its inclusivity programme in partnership with British Para Table Tennis.
Para classes will be on the schedule in the Cadet and Junior age groups. This adds to the Senior Nationals, which already features para classes.
The number of competitors and the classifications, competition format(s), eligibility and selection processes will be agreed on an annual basis between the two organisations.
The ITTF laws of table tennis also include several adaptations for when one player in an open event is in wheelchair. This applies to TTE events such as 1*, 2*, Grands Prix and British League, and so could apply to you! This includes serving, receiving and contact with the table. Click here to read more about these adaptations.
To support this, a number of other initiatives and new practices have been carried out or are planned across the competitions landscape. These include:
- Revision of our online entry portal for national events to collect accessibility data – enabling Table Tennis England to actively consider appropriate provision for para players.
- Revision of our regulations for regulated event entry forms to collect accessibility data – enabling tournament organisers to actively consider appropriate provision for para players. Click here to review the tournament regulations.
- Making Level The Table grants available for clubs which would need to invest in equipment to meet accessibility requirements (for example a wheelchair-compliant table if the playing roster of a team allocated to a British League or County Championships division hosted by the club includes a wheelchair user). Click here to find out more or to apply for a grant.
We urge members to familiarise themselves with adaptive rules applicable when a wheelchair user enters an open event.
We will in the next few weeks create a video resource for players, parents and officials to illustrate these adaptive rules.
In addition, Table Tennis England has approached all members who declare a disability in their membership profile, to link them with British Para Table Tennis (BPTT) programmes and activities, if they wish. This in turn strengthens the relationship between the two organisations.
We also encourage all Club administrators to access data in the TT Memberships platform for members affiliated to their clubs, and use this to proactively make appropriate provision for para players.
Bekki Shaw, EDI Support Officer at Table Tennis England, said: “We are proud to be supporting greater inclusion of para players at all levels of competition and I am delighted that these are coming into play from this season.
“We hope that through this support, disabled players will have the opportunity to compete without any barriers to success – a welcome step forward on our journey to increase inclusivity within our sport.
“I look forward to continuing our relationship with British Para Table Tennis to further improve the experience of Disabled People within the table tennis community.
“I would encourage all those with a role in table tennis to engage with the upcoming video resource, and I look forward to seeing more disabled athletes shine at future competitions.”