Sidcot School maintenance man Phil Payne, 45, of Bridgwater, batted away over 100 competitors to win the table tennis county championship in Taunton this week. Phil, who has been playing table tennis for over 30 years won the Men’s Singles, Veteran Singles and Men’s Doubles.
Phil, who is responsible for painting and decorating at the Quaker school in North Somerset, represented England in his childhood and made it to the quarter finals of the Olympic qualifiers in 1996. Despite his hat trick, Phil said that he was saddened that more young people do not enjoy the sport. He said: “It says something when a 45-year-old man wins the men’s singles – I wish that more young people would get involved and see how exciting it is to play”.
“Table tennis is an extremely competitive sport. It’s a bit like playing chess, but at a hundred miles an hour. It’s definitely different to decorating!”
Students at Sidcot are able to see the new champion in action and pick up a few tips every Thursday lunchtime at his school table tennis club.