Paul Martin. 72

Sooke senior takes on world in table tennis

Paul Martin was among 4,600 competitors taking part in the 18th World Veterans Table Tennis Championships

Kevin Laird

Sooke News Mirror

Paul Martin may be 72, but he’s still ready to take on the world.

Martin, a longtime Sooke resident, was among 4,600 competitors taking part in the 18th World Veterans Table Tennis Championships in Alicante, Spain last month.

The weeklong event takes place every two years and comprises of singles and doubles events in nine age categories. It attracts players from more than 80 countries, who play on 165 competition tables. There were 17,000 matches played.

“It was just overwhelming,” said Martin, describing the tournament as a beehive of activity of noise and heat. “I was really surprised.”

Martin opened the tournament in singles play where he went 1-4 and lost to eventual silver medalist Brian Hill of England. He then partnered with View Royal resident Fred Kong in doubles play and was eliminated.

“The games were really high calibre. I’m a B.C. gold medal competitive winner and I would classify myself just above [novice competitive] in the world. I thought I was a really good player,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say it was humiliating, but it was eye opening on the high level of competition.”

Martin returned to table tennis five years ago after a 40-year hiatus, when he played the sport in England as a youth.

Once he retired from working, he went back to the sport and soon found he was wanting for more competition. He joined both Juan de Fuca Seniors in Colwood and Oak Bay’s Monterey Table Tennis Club.

He met Kong at Monterey who persuaded him to go with him to the world championships.

“[Kong’s] a really good player. I didn’t think I was in his class, but he thought I was improving enough to go with him,” Martin said.

Leading up to the tournament, Martin practiced up to six times a week, often two hours each day. He also received local sponsorship, including a $5,000 boost from Bear Mountain Resort.

But even with all the practice, Martin said there isn’t enough competition here to be able to play competitively at the world level.

Now he has his eye on the next World Veterans Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas in 2018.

But this time Martin expects to be better prepared. He plans to get a coach, play better players and compete at more national and international events.

“I didn’t do that bad in Spain,” he said. “The competition was just so good.

“We had a great time. It was a dream of mine to go, but when I got there I thought maybe I dreamed too high.”

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich walks the walk on crosswalk after student lobbied for improvements

Elanor Teel approached first Saanich about the intersection in March 2017

Grange Road residents optimistic CRD will change pipeline plans

Marigold residents are concerned about the loss of up to 50 trees

Saanich plans to turn former Emily Carr library into office space

Report recommends more than $2 million for renovations at former library and other buildings

Salmon runs produce highs and lows on Vancouver Island this year

Chinook salmon did particularly well on the Island this year

Victoria police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Battle over Saanich’s Haro Woods not yet over, says report

Draft management plan calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 to improve area

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

China: Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet company

Upset student causes safety plan to be enacted at Island Elementary School

Child’s behaviour results in students being held in classrooms until order restored

Most Read