Taking a seat at the Table (Tennis).


Wednesday saw yet another early start in a bid to get back to Excel for two table tennis mens quarter final matches. For the first time this games, I missed the start in a failed attempt to get up with my first alarm.

The table tennis arena had been changed that morning to allow for just one table in the entire arena allowing the entire crowd to worry about just a single game. It does leave you feeling like it’s a bit too big and you’re a bit far away, but there are good video screens and unlike next door at the Weightlifting there’s a proper scoreboard.

In the same way I’ve been surprised a few times by the variation in quality between athletes at the Olympics, both games were over very quickly. Both Chinese players, numbers 1 & 2 in the world were convincing, winning 4-1 and 4-0 to maintain the likelihood they will face each other in the final. Incredible to think you can be the best player in your country by a mile, in the top ten of the world, but every time you need to play one of these Chinese guys you start, as my friend Simon who was with me suggested, to look like a small child back getting his arse whipped in the sixth form common room. It’ll surely be another gold medal for the Chinese in both the Womens and the mens.

The MC narrating between sets was one of the better ones I’ve seen and interacted well with the crowd – a few blokes had turned up looking like the table tennis players from the 118 advert and he went and found them for the big screen between the games. All very funny.

Overall a good experience and worth the early morning effort, but I can imagine it was one of the worst sessions to come to in that you only saw two games and they were both over very quickly – at least at the start, whilst the games may also end quickly they had four games on at a time to keep an eye on.

Later on in the day I was back on more familiar territory – at Wembley stadium for the big one – South Korea v Gabon in the football. Incredibly 76,000 people turned up which shows some advantages to LOCOG of having to book tickets before you know who is playing.

The game itself wasn’t all that great – 0-0 in the end, although Korea and Arsenal striker Park in particular had a lot of chances. I took my little cousin who aged seven was seeing his first game at the famous stadium and he seemed to be totally in awe of the place so it was fun for him, particularly once he started to grasp the idea of the Mexican wave.

I guess if you’ve never seen one the whole thing is rather odd… where else in the life of a seven year old do you start seeing loads of people jumping around like that in order? At some points the waves went on for a good five minutes, a sign if ever you needed one that the game was dire.

Overall £20 to see a game at Wembley can’t be sniffed at and there were a huge amount of kids there so that’s got to be positive.

Off back to Wimbledon now and then to Hockey later, which includes the GB Women – will be good to go to see a team game GB have a chance of success in.


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