Belfast-bound Nick Anthony hoping for another medal

Grundisburgh Table Tennis player, Nick Anthony

Grundisburgh Table Tennis player, Nick Anthony - Credit: Archant

There are not many grass roots table tennis players who get the opportunity to compete at a world Games involving more than 10,000 competitors.

Desmond Douglas

Desmond Douglas - Credit: Archant

But Nick Anthony, from Grundisburgh, hasn’t competed just once in the World Police and Fire Games, he’s going to his fourth tournament – where he competes at table tennis.

A Border Force officer at Felixstowe, Nick flies out to Belfast next month, following on from participation at previous Games at Stockholm (1999), Barcelona (2003) and Quebec (2005).

It’s quite an honour and he’s done well.

“Since I was 15 I have always played table tennis,” said Nick, who has been with Customs and Border Force for 30 years.

“I played for the UK Customs against the Sweden in 1993 and since then I have always been eligible for the World Police and Fire Games.

“I’m playing in the 50+ category this year and I’ve played tennis at the Games too, where I won a bronze medal at Stockholm.”

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But what is the standard of table tennis at the Games?

“It’s actually quite high, players from all over the world are obviously involved,” Nick adds.

“The Far East will send some good players, as will Poland. I remember in 2003 in Barcelona, Dubai brought their own table tennis coach.”

Ex-Olympians take part in a Games that is based on the Olympics with cycling, swimming, athletics, table tennis and most other Olympic sports all to the fore.

“There is an Olympic Village and about 10,000 competitors are going to Belfast,” Nick said.

“It’s self-funded, but I get a bit of time off to go. You have to treat it as a holiday.”

Nick has played table tennis for Trimley for 30 years and for Wherstead last season in the Ipswich and District League.

He was lucky enough to be at Wimbledon on men’s semi-final day last week, watching Djokovic and Murray for more than eight hours as they battled their way into the final.

Keen on racquet sports, he enjoys the camaraderie the World Police and Fire Games affords.

“You meet a diverse range of people and people you would never normally meet on a day-to-day basis.

“Hopefully I can do well. If not there is always Virgina City in 2015 – where the next Games are being staged – that will be just a bit more expensive!”

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