NET GAIN: Ruth Woodhams (second from right) with teammates Rodney Hearne, Jim Armstrong (the secretary-manager) and Tony Coronakes.
NET GAIN: Ruth Woodhams (second from right) with teammates Rodney Hearne, Jim Armstrong (the secretary-manager) and Tony Coronakes.

Fun and fitness over the table

DOZENS of locals are catching a bug called table tennis thanks to Jim Armstrong’s purpose built centre at Goonellabah.

What started as a good idea has become a great competition with players young and old travelling from all over the Northern Rivers to have a hit.

Armstrong created a breeding ground for the condition and it is spreading like wildfire.

There are Frenchmen, fruiterers, fathers and all turning out in the name of fitness and fun.

One lady who is well and truly under the weather of the table tennis bug is 2LM radio announcer Ruth Woodhams.

With a small change in diet, the 39-year-old has dropped 30kg on the floors around the tables at Armstrong’s establishment in less than a year.

She hasn’t felt so alive in years and encourages the garage slappers to come and have a go.

“A lot of people have tables at home, they beat their mates and then think they are the champions and get bored of it,” Woodhams said.

“The next challenge is to come down and have a hit with us – learn something new.”

There are players of all shapes, sizes, ages, nationalities and abilities and they want the world to know – the more the merrier.

Woodhams stumbled upon her newfound favourite sport only by chance.

Socialising at a local watering hole, Woodhams picked up the paddle and had a hit with a stranger.

“This guy was a truck driver who drove from Cairns to Coffs,” she said.

“I had a hit and he told me of Jim’s set-up at Goonellabah.

“I live in Goonellabah and I hadn’t heard of it, so it really was a chance meeting.”

Woodhams turned up the next week and hasn’t stopped, hitting the tables three or four times a week in competition and practice.

And the facility is first class.

The flooring used in the club is the flooring that was used for the table tennis arena at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

The autumn teams competition wrapped up this week with Goonellabah taking the title from Lismore City.

But the good news is new Tuesday and Wednesday competitions will start in mid-July.

Inquiries to Jim Armstrong on 66291206.



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