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World’s First Table Tennis Coach with Down Syndrome

World’s First Table Tennis Coach with Down Syndrome

Categories: Club Coach & Volunteering Disability Sport

Harry Fairchild recently passed his Table Tennis England Level 1 coaching qualification to become the World’s first table tennis coach with Down Syndrome.

The demanding three-month course included a practical assessment of delivering table tennis skills to a group of children. A scribe helped Harry with the written work.

Harry took his Level 1 Coaching course at Brighton Table Tennis Club with an incredibly diverse group of 16 local players and coaches. Active Sussex bursaries and Table Tennis England jointly funded the training.

Coaches are asked to give ten weeks of voluntary coaching back to the sport locally. Brighton is a priority zone and hotspot for development of Table Tennis nationally.

Harry has been part of the Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) coaching team at St Luke's, St Paul's and Downs Infants primary schools for the past six months and has a fantastic relationship with all the young people he teaches.

"Playing table tennis is a good thing,” says Harry. “I love showing other people how to play. Being a coach is about staying still and then running around the tables as well.

It is good exercise and good for muscles. People learn to respect each other through playing and everything will be OK when they play, if they have me to show them how to."

A professional and paid Makaton teacher at St Luke's for the past three years, Harry is also a talented actor, dancer and musician. However, he lives and breathes table tennis, answering his home phone in Woodingdean: "Hello Brighton Table Tennis Club, how can I help you?"

Said BTTC Director Tim Holtam: “Harry is a great role model and example of what someone with Down Syndrome can achieve. Table tennis is lucky he has decided to focus his boundless energy on the sport. He plays between 3-5 hours, six days a week, and his passion for the sport and support for others make a great contribution to the club.

He is also an outstanding player with a great future ahead of him and was recently crowned UK Down Syndrome Table Tennis Champion as the highest finisher with Down Syndrome in the Special Olympics National Competition.” 

You can watch Harry work his magic with a group of primary school children in the below video.

Brighton Table Tennis Club are launching from the 3rd July 2016 a Down Syndrome specific session. With Harry Fairchild coaching.

From 10am-1pm on the first Sunday of every month, for players aged 14 and over. £4 per session. Get in touch with Brighton Table Tennis Club for more information!