Table Tennis Movement Thinking Big (1)
Outdoor ping pong or table tennis has made a mark on Estonian nightlife in recent years, with late evening tournaments and growing number of tables set up, but now one activist wants to turn Estonia into a table tennis nation.
Once a week, crowds of 100 or so turned up for table tennis tournament in a semi-abandoned cultural area near the passenger ports during summer in Tallinn. Maybe only half take part, and the evening is hybrid of socializing and sport.
Vootele Vaher, head of the NGO Vint 44mm, which organized the tournaments, told Eesti Päevaleht the sport has moved from moldy and odd-smelling gyms to the public areas, both in Tallinn and Tartu.
He has built a number of tables himself and has a vision of more than 1,000 tables littering Estonia in five years.
“As Estonians have been successful foremost in individual fields and table tennis is an individual sport, there is potential that the next world champion grows up in Estonia,” Vaher said.
Marko Männik, the head of the Estonian Table Tennis Association, said street ping pong is far from the professional field, and coaches and experts are needed to teach and pick up talented people.
Vaher said the table tennis subculture in Estonia is the primary focus, not turning it into a professional league.