Harrogate table tennis player inspires next generation following World Championship success
George Chan of Harrogate Racquet Club represented his country earlier this month where he picked up a gold and silver medal following on from his success at the National Parkinson's Championships in August.
The National Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships took place in St Neots last month, where George entered the toughest category and in a gruelling series of matches, beat the tournament favourite to claim the gold medal.
If that wasn't enough, on the same day, George received a call up to represent England and take part in the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships in Berlin, competing against 25 other nations.
The team consisted of seven players from England, five from Scotland and one player from Wales where they claimed two gold, two silver and four bronze medals.
George won gold in the men's doubles (class two) alongside his partner Nenad Bach and silver in the mixed doubles (class one).
He said: "It's all been a bit surreal over the last couple of weeks with people coming up to me and congratulating me on my achievements.
"I often think it's still a dream until I catch glimpses of my medals and feeds from Facebook and YouTube which act as a gentle and happy reminder that the events did take place.
"Whilst being a Champion is a great feeling, I was inspired and humbled by all the players there.
"Everyone showed great courage and determination to over come their difficulties and came 'alive' at the table and to me we are all champions."
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Like many sportsmen and women across the country, George had to adapt his training during the Covid-19 pandemic to allow him to prepare for his competitions.
"During the pandemic it was not possible to train with a sparring partner so I resorted to training with a table tennis robot which fires balls at you mimicking a real opponent."
George has been Head Table Tennis Coach at Harrogate Racquets Club since 2011 and has built up the junior section of the club from scratch, providing multiple weekly coaching sessions.
He also runs adult, school and community coaching sessions with many of his players going on to play at county and national level.
His enthusiasm has inspired other club members to qualify as coaches, which has seen the club now add another three level one coaches, strengthening the coaching provision and giving Harrogate Racquet Club a great base to further develop coaching programmes.
George has suffered with Parkinson's for a number of years, however despite this, nothing stops him from playing the sport he loves and sharing his passion with members at the club through the junior coaching program, schools outreach program and the team he plays for in the Harrogate District League.
Vanessa Cameron, Harrogate Racquet Club Development Manager, said: "We are so very proud of what George has achieved and we know this will inspire all the youngsters he coaches at our club to work hard, keep focused and be the best player that you can be."
Harrogate Racquets Club is a friendly members' club offering dedicated facilities for table tennis, badminton and tennis.
The club welcomes members of all abilities and ages and has something to offer for everyone, whether that be playing socially with other members, joining club organised activities, or developing skills through access to accredited coaches who provide private or group coaching.
If you are thinking about joining Harrogate Racquets Club and would like any further information, then contact [email protected] or visit: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/harrogateracquetsclub