Bedford’s Liz Houghton is a woman on a mission. This month she is travelling to Germany to take part in the table tennis World Championships for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
Liz, 67, was diagnosed with PD seven years ago and credits playing regular table tennis with slowing its progress and enabling her to maintain a good level of fitness.
Recently, with the help of her table tennis club, Elstow, and her friends and family, she has been busy fundraising in order to help the team with travel and accommodation expenses for their trip to the tournament in Berlin.
The sport’s governing body, Table Tennis England has joined forces with Parkinson’s UK to promote table tennis as a beneficial exercise for people with PD and other neurological conditions.
“Sport therapy is the best ‘drug’ for Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions,” said Liz. “And table tennis is claimed to be the ‘best brain sport’.
“Giving people with Parkinson’s the opportunity to take part in a world tournament because of their condition gives them something positive to aim for.
“Not only is there sheer enjoyment and fun to be had from the game, but players find that their balance, mobility, stamina, coordination and reaction times can all improve with regular practice.”
This is the first year that the UK’s national teams have attended the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships (PWTTC) which takes place from 8 – 11 September.
Parkinson’s TT UK was established following the inaugural ITTF PWTTC in New York 2019 – after finding out there was no UK teams at that event.
As well as representing England at the Championships, Liz and the rest of the national team are keen to encourage more people with PD to take up the sport and are busy identifying and supporting local table tennis clubs throughout the country to become PD friendly.
For more information regarding table tennis for people with PD, you can email Liz on email@example.com
If you would like to make a donation to support the team, visit their crowdfunding website here.