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Table Tennis in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland table tennis is governed by the Ulster Branch of the Irish Table Tennis Association. For historical reasons, as well as Northern Ireland, the Ulster Branch has responsibility for 3 of the counties in Ireland. Because the Ulster Branch is part of the Irish Table Tennis Association, Northern Ireland doesn’t have its own table-tennis teams in most international competitions, its players instead competing as part of the Ireland team.
There are a number of table tennis leagues in Northern Ireland that cover different areas and different skill levels. These include:
- Co. Antrim Table Tennis League – includes those parts of Belfast in Co. Antrim, for developing/recreational players.
- Bangor & District Table Tennis League – covers parts of the North Down area with players of various skill levels
- Belfast & District Table Tennis League – for more advanced players in the Belfast area
- Fermanagh Table Tennis League – covers players in Co. Fermanagh & parts of Tyrone
The ITTA and/or the Ulster Branch organise individual table-tennis tournaments, usually on weekends, the biggest in Northern Ireland being the Ulster Open, usually held at the Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey, just outside Belfast. It’s through tournaments like this that players score ranking points for the purposes of Ulster/Irish rankings. The leagues organise both team and individual competitions.
The Ulster branch have also begun establishing “super clubs” for developing young players’ ability to competition level. Further details are available at Table Tennis Ulster.