Sport 11.01.24

New Elite Training Centre will fuel Olympic medal aspiration

A new Elite Training Centre for British table tennis will open in Sheffield, as Table Tennis England and GB Table Tennis further develops its aspiration to win World and Olympic medals.

The search for the preferred Elite Training Centre followed an 18-month search which considered five options before a partnership was agreed with Sheffield City Trust and Sheffield City Council to relocate its performance programme to the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS), at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, where it will enjoy exclusive use of a training hall for more than 1,700 hours a year, as well as world-class support from the outstanding sports science and medical services provided by the UK Sports Institute.

Table Tennis England CEO Adrian Christy hailed the news as “a huge step forward towards our ambition to deliver that historic first ever Olympic medal for GB table tennis”.

Adrian added: “The Elite Training Centre will be a dedicated, exclusive space with a clear focus on delivering a world-class training environment.

“We want to make this one of the best elite training facilities in Europe and open our doors to players from across the world to train with our athletes – and for our athletes to know they can get the best possible practice and preparation without having to leave these shores.

“But the centre is more than that. A centralised, training environment is critical to the pathway system we are building, providing the inspiration for young British players to strive to be a part of, where our next generation of players will come together regularly where they will integrate with our leading senior players and, crucially, where we will bring coaches together from across the UK to learn together.

“The move also allows us to explore efficiencies across the table tennis and para table tennis programme to ensure they are as effective as possible.”

Paul Hudson, Director of Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome Table Tennis England and the GB Table Tennis Programme to the EISS in Sheffield. Having recently been recognised by UK Sport as one of only eight national elite training centres, alongside the dedicated sporting facilities, our culture and network of research, testing and proven sporting success will support Table Tennis’s medal aspirations.

Among the other sports based at EISS are British Para Table Tennis, GB Boxing and Para Badminton, who, together, have delivered multiple world, Olympic and Paralympic medals.

Gavin Evans, Head of Performance Development, said: “We are very clear in our performance strategy that includes creating world-class environments that inspire world-class behaviours, and the EISS provides both. Every day, our players will train and prepare in a proven medal-winning culture, where they will be around other world-class athletes, coaches, and practitioners.

“The transition to Sheffield will begin this month, with the centre scheduled to be fully operational by March 1 to allow complete focus on preparing for the Paris Olympics.

“I would like to thank the leadership and staff at the University of Nottingham who have been a valued partner for a number of years, but this is a necessary step for our programme, for our players and for our coaches, as we continue the exciting journey we are on.”